Stemware, or Advice to Clumsy Parents

Stemware, or Advice to Clumsy Parents

It doesn’t take much.

Just a failure of your fingers to remember

to hold on a little tighter,

to grip the glass with just a little more care.

Are you tipsy, or lacking strength?

It wasn’t what you meant but still

it falls from your hand, its contents trailing

cataract-like through the freeze-framed air.

And then there’s that moment.

The one where you suspend logic

and wonder if the hard floor

won’t shatter the glass this time.

And then there’s the next moment.

When the glass shatters into pieces,

and fragments, and tiny shards and splinters,

all over the indifferent, unloving, looking-the-other-way floor.

The floor doesn’t have hands to catch,

nor arms to embrace, nor a voice to soothe.

No, the floor is just the floor.

Two things remain true.

If you now try to pick up

the pieces of the shattered glass,

you may get cut, painful splinters may

embed themselves under your skin,

and your blood may flow.

The other thing is that no matter

how much you wish it were so,

the shattered glass,

which, like the floor,

has neither hands nor arms nor a voice,

cannot fix itself. Even if it could,

no matter how hard it tried,

some broken parts of itself would be so small,

so nigh-on invisible,

that the repair job would always feel incomplete.

All they would know for sure

is that they were the glass that got dropped.

So please, for the love of God,

be careful with the stemware.

“be careful with the stemware”

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