The Graal technique was developed in Sweden in 1916: the
initial bubble of glass is overlaid with different layers
of crystal glass, coloured or clear depending on
the outcome of the desired and planned design.
—Ola Höglund and Marie Simberg-Höglund
There are waves
that reach us and waves that we
send out. Layers coalesce
like the rings of trees, mother
Its first form is called
a gather (though it only smolders
to itself). To shape it,
you will need a potter’s patience
and a welder’s sense
The object is becoming
That which, at our lips, might heal us—
but if you act too soon,
your work will sag
under its own burning
and it will shatter in the cold.
Some compare this substance to
the mist that rises from new graves
in that country.
When day returns,
you can’t take back your breath.
Carol Quinn received her doctorate in Creative Writing from the University of Houston in 2005, where she was also the recipient of C. Glenn Cambor and Donald Barthelme Fellowships in Creative Writing. She also holds degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and the University of Southern California. Her poetry has appeared in Pleiades, River Styx, The Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, The American Literary Review, The National Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her essays and reviews have been published in The Emily Dickinson Journal, the American Book Review, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, and other journals. She is a lecturer in English at Towson University in Maryland. "Graal" is a 2008 Anderbo Poetry Prize Poem of Distinction.