The Basket Weaver by Clare McCotter

For Eimear Bradley

There are no wild geese circling this basket
no mountain ranges or quail plumes
only hues of pussy willow and hazel
woven into a child’s sun.
Buff and green and silvery blue
turned slowly like the old worshippings
now sidewalls rise to rim lined with seed beads.

Keen as the scent of horses in first frost
she came to the big house newly qualified.
Other occupational therapists
cracking up when she asked
who wants to make a basket?
Didn’t she know that stuff was old hat?
It was all about assessment
Beck Depression Scales and risk management.
Hands working wicker a thing of the past.

Being a bona fide basket case
with a differential diagnosis of totally spaced
I accepted her offer.
Sculpting sticks and air into a gourd used
to hold thoughts crackling in gold and scarlet.
Poured out across the fields at dusk
with a spoke of sallow prayer:

O let the starless night begin
And beginning quiet all the voices.

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