The cracked bowl that I mean to repair everyday
keeps getting neglected by my secret awe for bone china
and its story of unbreaking.

There were happier times when it stood perfect
in its shape, its porcelain clay-fluted nape
elegant as a swan’s neck.

I found it in a heap of beautiful pottery,
one among many, that its maker carefully crafted
in her tropical rooftop studio.

To me it was new even after it accidentally
slipped from my hands as I tried to wipe
the Delhi dust

that clung to us like camel-brown film,
like innocuous powder — transparent and deceptive
like make-up.

There are scenes I painted on its milk-white skin,
words I wrote, lines etched in, fragments of poems
left unfinished, hieroglyphic

encoded secrets
that only I knew and understood,
impervious to gossip’s glare and jealous chatter.

Today, I shall bring out Super Glue
and try to make repairs.
Maybe I will splurge

on a rare metal —
silver or even gold, to seal the cracks and fill them
with molten healing.

Anointing it with gold,
memory, love and desire,
is better than the perfection

of its prior shape. Unbroken, poised as it was,
unhurt love is not necessarily purer
than love that is flawed.

Kintsukuroi — a gift I have been granted.
My bowl deserves the lacquer touch of a silver-wish
and the purest of rare gold.

*Kintsukuroi (n.) (v. phr.) “to repair with gold”;
the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer
and understanding that the piece is more beautiful
for having been broken.