We Break Things: In Which I Make Myself a Liar. Perhaps.

After quiet time yesterday, Katie found me scribbling in a notebook. With thoughts of the upcoming election rattling around in my head, inspired, somewhat, by responses to my last post, and goaded by an assignment I’d recently given to my students, I was eking out a sonnet.

“Mama,” she said as she wedged herself into the chair with me, “Why do you cross out so much stuff when you write?”


When Jonathan came home several hours later, the same notebook lay open on the kitchen counter. He watched as I amended my words in between household tasks – wash a dish, change a line, wipe a face, strike an adjective – and asked, “Aren’t you making yourself a liar? Your last blog post said you don’t write poetry.”

I shrugged. “Cobbling lines together isn’t the same as writing poetry.”

He quirked an eyebrow at me, but I (mostly) ignored him.


Well. I may or may not be a liar. I suppose that’s up to you to decide.


With outstretched arms, he brings me things. So proud,
Allowed to help until his tiny hands
Can’t meet demands. Glass breaks. His grief is loud.
Among the shards, with broken heart, he stands.
We break things, he and I. Try as we might
To get it right, still failing’s what we do,
It’s true. Things fall and shatter. At the sight
Of splintered hope, our fragile hearts break, too.
We break things, you and I, and every shard
Cuts hard. The remnants of our past won’t let
Our hearts forget. Our hands, our lives are scarred.
We break things – glass and hope and hearts – and yet,
With outstretched arms, he offers broken bread,
That we might learn to shatter chains instead.

1 response to "We Break Things: In Which I Make Myself a Liar. Perhaps."

  1. By: Karen Posted: November 1, 2020

    Thank you for this . It echoes the brokenness I feel here in this skin, in this marriage, in this world.

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