Apology And Gratitude Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin

The wine glass my mother threw
across the kitchen floor

bounced on the linoleum
and somehow managed to land

on the base of its stem, upright!
Whether it felt like gratitutde

or more like an apology was hard
to tell—that was more 

than forty years ago, before
I knew what kneeling on shards

of heirloom glass felt like
when I had to clean up after her

time and again, had to pay
and pay for those things she felt

but never knew how to say— 

TIMOTHY LIU is cooling his academic jets. He will start up again in the Fall when he joins the faculty at SUNY New Paltz. In the meantime he’ll be mostly staying put. Or driving around. Or giving I-Ching and tarot readings at the Omega Institute. www.timothyliu.net

If you enjoyed this poem, check out Timothy Liu’s latest book, Let it Ride, out now from Saturnalia Books.

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