|photo: lisa beth anderson|
I am anything but usual: the Western woman who turns up at an alley shop with her photographer friend in a part of Amman I couldn't quite describe. How to get there? How to arrive? A room leads to another room, leads to bowls and dishes, platters and trays -- these give way to women painting and sculpting, glazing and firing. Wedging clay. Spinning wheels. Molding and guiding. Their outcome determined overnight.
What outcome overnight? Friends arriving by car, by rail, by plane. Friends pouring into Chicago. (Conference forecast calls rain and thunder, flurries, snow.) Writers arriving with suitcases and books. Poets arriving with suitcases for books. All arriving with expectations, affectations. Wearing affiliations with their best winter boots.
I've lost my best winter boots. Like a misplaced receipt or to-do list, they've disappeared indoors. I've searched closets, looked under beds. I've interrogated the luggage, baskets of laundry, inspected nooks behind the door jambs. They're wedges -- these boots -- with Victorian-like buttons that arc from the littlest toe to mid-calf. Their heels and arches stamped with phrases in Japanese. Their characters fainter each year -- as when, in rain, mulberry paper turns some umber shade and then settles, finally, to rust.