cambridge book review

Knowing that Most Things Break

Norma Gay Prewett

“Then, as a mother lays her sleeping child
Down tenderly, fearing it may awake.
He set the jug down slowly at
his feet, knowing that most things break.”

—Edgar Arlington Robinson, “Mr. Flood’s Party”

Knowing that most things break, you lick the flap of the envelope
Twice, softening the sentiment of the rejection inside,
Knowing that a disgruntled postal worker somewhere
May choose to open fire the very day your letter
Is pouched in the bag at his side, doubling the break.

Knowing that most things break, you may drive the nail
To hang your mother’s mother’s plaster plaque
Of the gilded Old Rugged Cross one extra whack.
You may soften the scolding you feel you must deliver
When your child inevitably lies about breaking it.

Knowing that of all the things that break
Words let loose in the trusting air can break, break.

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March 31, 2010 Posted by | memoir, poetry | , , | 1 Comment