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Dear poetry friends,

 

I’ve never before posted a poem here on A Hundred Falling Veils by someone else, but I was so moved by this poem written this week by my poetry student and friend Phyllis Klein that I asked her if I could post it here, and she agreed.

 

I’m particularly moved by the way that she tells this story in a way that is clearly apropos to this week’s news, but is also so universal.

 

Dedicated to Christine and all survivors.

 

 

 

Life is Glass

–Phyllis Klein

 

There are so many fragile things, after all. 

People break so easily, and so do dreams and hearts.

Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things

 

 

 

Breaking:  Buzz of a bone fractured, burst of a bowl hitting the floor,

boom of a heart splitting. Please like me. A dream as it shatters.

Please think I’m good. Whistle of a word as it severs from itself into the air.

Of a scream demolished.

 

Moments of breaking:

Hand over the mouth, gagging, pushed into a room, door locked from

the inside. Parties, drinking. Why did I do that? The seconds it takes to get

lost. Smash of consciousness as it disappears. Disillusion’s waking

croak. Where are my clothes? Fragmentation into terror.

 

How it happens:  remembering, forgetting. Was I drugged?

After school, at a party, pungency of impact, taste without

permission. No proof. In the sacristy, in a back seat, a hotel

or a bedroom, did it happen?

 

Breaking: dust of collision, whiff of dreams burning, nightmares strike,

cymbals snarl in the brain. I’m repulsive. Floating above it

all in a disappeared body.

 

Why she didn’t tell: Pretend. It didn’t happen.

No one will swallow it. He threatened, laughed, was stronger, bigger.

It’s my fault. They won’t believe me. Pretend. Have to see him sneer.

Hide it.

 

What happens next: Cracks. Panic, a plane taking off in the gut.

Armor, as involuntary as neurons saying run but all there is is a

wall. Looking ok, nobody knows. Get over it. What is PTSD? The thing

that won’t leave, the image, the smell, the taste that’s a plague.

 

The crush of shame. Lack of sleep. When is it over?

Feeling it, numbing it. Not understanding yet that greatness

comes from damage.

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