In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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I’m smashing the plates with a hammer. Boom!
The blue plates and the yellow ones from Goodwill.
It’s to make a mosaic. Pow! I’m smashing them
On the cement floor of my friend’s warehouse.
I thought you loved me. Boom!
And perhaps you did.
The red plates and the green ones, bought at yard sales,
Someone’s discards. This one has such a pretty pattern of flowers
On its border, it seems a shame — Boom! —
To break it, but there it is, in jagged ceramic pieces.
I kneel on dust, wrap in a towel and smash
Something that once carried rice or greens or meat
To a hungry mouth. We are so rich in this country
We can afford to break —
Pow! Bam! — whatever we want.
Whatever we are bored with.
You held me in your arms and told me you loved me.
One tear leaked from your eye as you said it.
Did you forget?
I am stacking up the gold plates, color of pumpkin harvest,
And the shiny midnight blue. I don’t like white.
I have never liked white,
The color of silence.
Crash! Pow! It’s like smashing tiny bodies
Wrapped in swaddling,
As if you couldn’t bear to see their faces,
And suddenly I understand how men might want to murder
What they can’t bear to look at.
Where is the home for my heart? Crash! Pow!
We are going to make something beautiful
Out of all of these pieces. My friend is sorting them
Into plastic containers while I kneel and smash.
Was it the face of my love you couldn’t bear?
Men go blind when they look at the sun
Directly. I know I will never
Have answers to my questions, and what’s done —
Smash! Bang! — cannot be undone.
I know we will find some beautiful use
For all the pieces.