Because we weren’t supposed to, we planted them, in a front yard on Salem Avenue,
the glass, the small please from my sisters, how any child would say please
and hold out their hands. I was always listening because my body was
small and organic, not like glass at all – how my sisters said please
so I gave them the shards of glass I had been hoarding, green and brown
and sharper even than the way they said please, so wide, please.
Because we weren’t supposed to, we used the larger shards as shovels to dig
up dirt and the roots of our maple tree, which were difficult to cut, but the palms
of our hands were not. When the hole was dug, we poured the broken glass into
the ground. I was smaller than my sisters and smaller than the way they said please.
My hands still sting from the cuts and the dirt drying in them. How can I know
when to stop and when will I know the planting is fruitful, how can I understand
what it is that we planted and what survives? Because I am not supposed to,
I do, in a front yard on Salem, I continue to bury it, the small surviving please
of a memory, the braying, whimpering mass of it, too large to cover with dirt.
by Tara Westmor
Runner Up, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize