Corps de l’article

Oldest among dishes is the bowl, its shape found in shells and

rain-eroded stones; in puffballs sliced in half, gills gutted; in

hollowed-out homonyms that grow on trees, mainly oak and maple. There

are four qualifiers essential to a bowl’s condition: empty and full,

whole and broken. They also apply to a human life. The bowl is praised

for its compatibility, willingly nesting inside another bowl, humble

saints of the crowded cupboard. Though its speciality is soup, it

welcomes anything you give it. If you spit in it, it remains courteous

and constant. No matter what its lineage, it doesn’t judge or need high

table. It feels at home among the homeless in church basements, at the

feet of a busker who sings for coins. It shows no preference for humans

to cats or dogs. Anything can feed or drink from it. Though it looks

satisfied with its fate, the bowl has more in common with the dragonfly

than with the cup or pitcher. Few know it is a rarity, counted among the

special ones capable of shifting shape. Its stage right now is pupae.

Under the proper conditions, it will metamorphose. Become a horse’s

hoof, an ocarina, a set of new white teeth shining in a glass of water

by a bed.