"Give Me a Boat That Can Carry Two" by Rajiv Mohabir

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August 1, 2022 

Give Me a Boat That Can Carry Two

Rajiv Mohabir

See there, the grapes
in the bowl you threw
with your own hands against
the wheel turning anti-clock
wise, at rest on the granite
countertop—first the globes’
gloss will corrode and the air
will spin a fine white cotton
to shroud it into dust—
The quarried stone counter
also marches slowly
to dust. Today, outside
the sky and sea both share
a dark blue-grey stoneware—and this,
this is how you love:
as the crescendo of morning’s bright,
its silver spears, diffused
through a veil, as the kiss
of grape-skin against
lilac glaze, even,
until from the dark
that formed you, you hear
that whisper call you back
to purple wideness, and you return
to the wheel to practice
giving shape to one vessel
that can hold another,
that can feel it pulse
and then slacken.

Copyright © 2022 by Rajiv Mohabir. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 1, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“The poem’s title comes from the American folk song ‘The Water Is Wide’ and blends ceramics with Vedanta.”
Rajiv Mohabir

Rajiv Mohabir is a queer, Indo Caribbean poet and the author of Cutlish (Four Way Books, 2021), among other titles. The recipient of awards and grants from Kundiman, Four Way Books, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, he lives in Malden, Massachusetts.

Cutlish
(Fourway Books, 2021)

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Thanks to Donika Kelly, author of The Renunciations (Graywolf Press, 2021), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read or listen to a Q&A about Kelly’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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