The Tilemakers

–Provence 2016


they've been centuries at it

molding fitting roof tiles

random-not-random patterns

passed from père to fils

to père to fils to perfection


the earliest ones  so it is said

were formed on a person's thigh

hence the rounding hence

the taper at one end


thigh tiles the palest ones

rounded over the creamy thigh

of the tilemaker's young wife

the burnt orange ones laid hard

on the young man's own August thigh


the ashen ones on the thighs of grandpère

as he surrenders to the woolen blanket

spread on the floor of his wooden cradle-bed

his thigh and the rest of him soon to go to ashes


even while his grey freckled tiles continue

to press against the blanched innocent

the sun-burning youth earth

and body and color this evening


slicked to a high varnish by a hard

but graceful rain darkened riched-up

only to be drained to a bleach

by tomorrow morning's sun