I can remember every precious thing I’ve broken:
a blue and white vase, shattered by a ball that
my brother might have thrown, or me. Perhaps
it was a Bonge piece; perhaps that would explain
my mother’s tears while I fixed myself to the black
and white checkered floor, jelly-armed, refusing
to let myself be put in time out, in full faculty
of the way children can make themselves go,
like ants, ten times heavier than their own weight.
And as a careless twenty-such, I didn’t know to turn
the heater on in the sunroom to keep my grandmother’s plants
warm during a freeze. The next morning, her jade
trees limp and watery. The bird of paradise with its long neck
draped across the floor in death. Was this something someone
should have told me, or something I should have known?
And this evening, while packing, in a cabinet I found
several cutting boards I deemed too precious for use;
wedding presents. One a checkerboard of inlaid wood.
The other half marble slab, half live edge. When did
I tell myself these things were too good for me,
and my everyday everydayness? When did I start
believing I could get along fine with the splintering
bamboo board that comes apart a little more
with each use; that I’d wait for a special occasion.
I think of the multitudes of china sets, waiting
in boxes or glass curios; so precious we can
hardly touch them, so we keep them far from us.