Steven Sanchez – Through A Glass, Darkly

Steven Sanchez

Through A Glass, Darkly

The glass slips through your grip—
you sweep the debris
that glitters like mana
in the desert and recall the sting
of the shot glass
that shattered
in an Arizona bar’s ice bin:
you were drinking water,
chewing ice, thinking
the ice was freezer burned
when it wouldn’t grind
any finer between your teeth,
wouldn’t melt, then you swallowed
and tasted your own blood—
that night, you kissed a man
who wasn’t the man you’d left at home
watching your two dogs as you travelled
across the country—you loved that man,
loved as in past tense, as in over,
as in even if you try to piece
this glass back together,
it will always misalign,
will always have a crack, a fissure
where water will seep—
every pane already has thousands
of microfissures no human eye
will ever see—but what if you could
see every flaw, your faults suspended
like radials in a web, spindled
haloes catching sunlight and morning
dew—would you call your reflection
                                         an angel?
After that night in Arizona,
every time you kissed the man
back home, you were learning
to un-love—it isn’t falling
out of it, it isn’t so sudden,
so quick, a convenient story
about when the favored angel
crashes to earth, an easy origin
to say it ended here—no,
it’s slower than that,
it’s moving your furniture
out of your shared apartment
one piece at at time,
it’s a sofa’s silhouette
smudged against the wall,
it’s the way you try to scrub it
clean, the way his face rises
in your mind every time you kiss
another man until, one day,
you notice his face has set
in some dark cupboard
of your memory that you find
yourself opening up, sometimes,
in the middle of the night
when all the lights are off—
when you reach for a glass,
feel it slip through your grip,
and you don’t even try to save it.

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