Never run while holding glass
for what could spill, a slosh
of something bright, for what could break,
not just if dropped, but in the hand,
as if its grip would turn glass back
to fine sand and flames.
No one wants to clean your mess.
To say I wasn't running never helps.
So the child poured at the table
to avoid taking steps, but that meant,
grown, she couldn't cross a room
without flecks of ash falling behind:
at the bar where she stripped labels
off bottles to keep calm; in the evening,
the goblet of wine lit in her hand
above the seahorse charm the hostess
linked around its stem; the nights
she handed water to her children
for the table. Oh, I'm sorry,
they exclaimed, thinking the drops
and dust behind them connected
to their movement. They told each other
to be more careful as they wiped it up.
Wasn't long before it started happening
not just with glass but also cups.
Ceramic turned to clay and fire
and spread across the floor
until all she could do was drink
straight from her hands.