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Behind Glass (a poem)

Updated: Feb 2


“And here,” the tour guide said,

arm extending at a right angle,

flat, heaven-turned hand

mechanically maneuvering,

“you'll see our “studying” exhibit.”


behind glass walls, a room,

walls narrowing towards the back,

grey chairs, short and tall,

blue and orange top cushions,

plugs and footrests and a big tv,

and students, flesh and blood,

flipping through textbooks,

tapping touchscreens and laptop keys,


one with a pencil behind her ear,

another with charts beneath his hands,

another crossing to the other side.

one with a deceased suicidal cousin,

another with a mother stolen by cancer,

another with divorcing grandparents

who were more like mom and dad

than mom and dad were in the end.


“We pride ourselves on having a studious,

put-together, pristine student body.

many parts of one machine,

working inside our perfect, petite world.”

The tour guide spoke knowing full well

how unwell it all was. yet still,

telling the truth wasn’t in her job title.


and comfort, consideration,

unburdened, clear conscience

were second to no importance

behind the glass.


because behind the glass,

all that matters

is all that probably won’t last:

The Test coming up sunday night.


yet behind glass eyes is a sparkling sea

struggling to keep from being seen.

the glass is stronger than crystal.

the glass is braver than its building.

the glass is open-flame-oven-baked

and isn’t broken by battered baseballs,

but is the shatter-resistant resilience


within every wife whose husband

is overseas under heavy fire,

and every mother whose son is sick,

and every broken-hearted father.


it’s the strength of seaglass

battered by coming and going tides,

even the bleeding heart of the selfless

whose love is greater than their concern

for the rising and falling

of their own chests.


and it’s forged here.

behind the glass.

yea, behind the glass,

we become.

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