Poetry: Rock Paper Knife

I wrote this poem two years ago at the height of an extended period of trauma. It’s the last one I would write for some time. Glass appears in this poem, just as it did in the last one I shared. There’s something unique about glass that makes it a vehicle for telling my story of trauma. It comes to be under extreme conditions, just as extreme conditions shape trauma survivors. (As an aside, the part about glass organizing its atoms in response to the sun was informed by this story.)

Rock Paper Knife

If it is true that glass can spontaneously
organize its atoms in response to the sun
to become more adept at surviving heat,
then your hand must have reinforced

my throat and your threats must have
tightened my tympanic membranes.
Now I am at least as strong as a sheet
of glass exposed to ultraviolet rays.

When I shatter, it will not be you who
broke me. It will simply be time to stop
orchestrating particles, to unsing my body’s
song. I will surrender these building blocks

so they can toughen in response to other
insults. As rock learns to breathe through
paper’s blanket, as paper folds to evade
knife, as knife slings light to blind rock.