Things That Break, poem by Lana Hechtman

      Up north the Navy is toasting
      its forty-billion dollar aircraft carrier with
      wedding vintage Champagne across the bow.

      In California it is raining crystal tears
      from Richter-shaken chandeliers
      and somewhere electricity surges,

      the bulb inflames,
      blackens,
      then blows itself to bits.

      Someone in Wiesbaden has just
      bobsledded faster than the speed of sound.
      He screamed with delight, but it was too late.

      In the Middle East no peace effort
      is as firm as the handshake,
      or as long-lasting.

      One moment
      our beloved's eyes are mirrors,
      the next, splintery ice.

      We surround ourselves with
      eggs, china, pencils,
      crayons, windows, silence.

      We are built from bones
      and teeth and tender skin.
      Our fevers spike, then break.

      And the heart--always broken
      yet full-speed ahead, that heart
      no doctor can put a stethoscope to.


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Mary Williams
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