(For Jennifer Gleason of Sunflower
Sundries Farm & her friend, Sarah
Culbreth of Tater Knob Pottery)

i drink jennifer’s spicy chai from sarah’s
exquisite cup, its glaze tinted with the
morning sky’s muted blues and think of them

they’re nearly the last of the kind
of women whose beings are expressed
   in the manual work found in worn

hands. dedicated for decades to
  levels of craft-woman-ship found
in places off the beaten path

iconoclasts and collaborators
who share a birthday
and who have heard institutional

men be so wrong about who they are
that listening and forgiveness
is beside the point

more than a century of miles between 
them but no distance to their thoughts,
women who know when the other needs

to talk. when they’re together I keep
a respectful distance,  a certain 
reverence obtains, like around peasant 

women who rule the village
or Tibetan nuns who have gone off
to their hilltop