The Potter’s Wheel

Then, he said, let us make man in our image, a simulation did he create…
— From a Malian Adage

Sesu Baba Ahmadou
a son
of Timbuktu
and the Bronx
by way of Marseilles
an authentic simulated divine
confluence of mud and the potter’s breath
called to witness the spectacle of now
an old man
made of mud hushed dried by the potter’s breath
first acquiesced by his tears sweet as the swollen Niger
flowing as his timeless solitude.
sounding clay,
kneaded like a self-conscious golem (גוםל)
not yet really there but ready
for the potter’s kiln.

If these worn and wrinkled traveling bags resemble him…
such an ugly old potter must he be!

that the spinning wheel
holding all my nascent possibilities
was kick-turned by recalcitrant jinn
in resentful fiery malcontent
obsequious angels
not beset with the burden
of discretion?

Light is the potter’s best work.
He bent angels from Light’s gladdened singularity.
Even now Light wraps the potter in her thankful presence
so you see them as One –
save his Face!

Familiars who circle village fires
beneath a sky crowded with the shadows
of their ancestors bled into the folds of darkness
buffing every star to its own peculiar brightness
raised higher than lamp fires lighting the path to the water…
to dust

Familiars who stand in the rhythm of Mother Ganges
offering their morning prayer comforted by her golden slumber,
her flowing skirt glistening in the morning lights
scattered on the banks above the wonder…
to dust.

Familiars who wail at the Wall of the Invisible Temple
swaying with the determined memory of galloping steeds
beneath them before their confinement in others’ histories
who would keep them invisible as the temple
whose walls are swollen with their tears…
to dust

Familiars who walk miles on their knees
along the stone road streaked in boisterous
penances and gratitude for the one who first marked
this way burdened by the crosses of every soul
swirling in the pain of their forgetfulness…
to dust.

Familiars who weep in the shade
of the Qur’an, flow concentrically
around the Ka’aba, a sacred nucleus, as rapturous
hajjis simulating obedient electrons…
to dust

Did I see me in the potter’s dusty face?
Feel me in the potter’s mud?
Did the precognition
of certainty simulate
then as now?

Sesu Baba Ahmadou,
indwelt sounding clay sculpted with divine nascent possibilities
embodied first in Timbuktu, articulated in Marseilles
and steeled by the harshness of Bronx life,
draws nigh to the light bending
darkness near the pillars
where motherless
angels are born
and where
remains his