The Jar
by A.F. Moritz

copyright © 2008 A.F. Moritz

We found a jar there. Not a vase, not a piece of the potter’s art
but glass, from a store shelf, with a threaded mouth,
the lid and label long gone, all residue of the product blotted away:
bright crystal. I had to tell you this because the word jar
dwells in between comprehending both. It reminded us of songs we know,
the “broken water jar,” the “jar in Tennessee,” the “drinkin’ liquor
from an old fruit jar.” But the desolating place: white weeds,
white ground baked into sharp lumps and ridges,
a dead sapling, bushes crisp with thirst, rattling in a breeze.
No moisture in the jar. No way to tell if it had been thrown away
or washed or kept as a vessel. We succeeded for a while in seeing
the curves and sun-glints of its strange perfect hollow with affection.
We felt shaken, imprisoned, as though the low whine of the acres of flies,
as though the silence, were aftermath of a deafening shout. We longed
for wet darkness, even if it brought that doom-laden bird, the nightjar.