Issue 2, Spring 2007


Glass No. 13
by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

I never knew my family
until it turned to glass:
The gauges of years past
on our complexions turned
to scratches, unfinished
sentences, all the vowels
our father missed like
particles cast off in friction.
There were no diamonds
in our family, no such precise
equipment. The motion of lips
indefinitely postponed,
created a pose of grace
where there had always been
gracelessness. Everyone
took everything for granted.

In this glass suspension
each member’s face became
a mirror for selected images:
my sister sees failure
at the office, in the kitchen,
at the dining room table,
speeches that died on the vine;
my mother sees a grandchild,
someone who sees nothing
but dye in the shape
of her grandmother’s eyes.
I see glass abridged,
strata of glass stalled
between the embrace of ceramic
or bisque—colorless until
my daughter takes a paintbrush
to them, in garish schemes
and tones of the past—or metal
with the ambition of wood,
to live beyond degradation,
dated with awe and respect.

Glass does not collect itself
as Lazarus did, or a lizard
regenerates lost limbs. In its last
frame, the one my daughter
will keep, a photograph
tasteless for the circumstances.
The baby of the family
has died. We should have been
cold-blooded, my family,
our skin leather-beaded
rather than its sleek, tamed finish,
from abrupt combinations
of sand.