Flowerpot

By Alan R. Shapiro b. 1952
I lay back on the carpeted bottom step
Of the stairwell that like a well extended
Darkly up to the window near the ceiling,

Up where the Chinaman under the wide-brimmed hat
That hid his face pulled the flowerpot that held
No flower across the sill no one could reach.

There was a television on somewhere
Above me, and the doomsday clock was ticking,
Someone was saying. Someone was saying something

About a blockade and a quarantine,
Who would blink first, lose face, or push the button.
A fat man banged a shoe against a desk.

The Chinaman however didn’t care.
Pulling his flowerpot of absent flowers,
He was content to be a clot of darkness  

Brightening the moment late sun caught the glass—
The hat tip first, and then the hat, the arms,
The rickshaw of the flowerpot he pulled.

And everywhere within the light’s slow fall
Infinities of particles were falling
Into the flowerpot they’d never fill.


Source: Poetry (November 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2010
 Alan R. Shapiro

Biography

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Alan Shapiro was educated at Brandeis University. As the author of numerous collections of poetry, Shapiro has explored family, loss, domesticity, and the daily aspects of people’s lives in free verse and traditional poetic forms. He has published over ten books of poetry, most recently Reel to Reel (2014); Night of the Republic (2012), a finalist for the National Book Award and the Griffin Prize; . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Tercet

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