For Carlos Hernandez
by C. S. E. Cooney
Beloved, when I broke
your saucer the other day
(from that demitasse set I bespoke for you especially
hand-painted like the Cartas Españolas you’d bought
with money from the poem about your abuela, who taught you
trick-taking games with those same cards)
what metaphor was this? What import accidentally enacted
when I shattered the saucer on our new gray stone floor while putting away the dishes?
Has my love, too, grown casual? Too lackadaisical, too careless, the extraordinary
turned common, the celebratory comet of excess fizzled to a mere “used to”?
have I ceased to see you? Like a shard swept into shadow, like a splinter
waiting for the roughened callous, the late night drink of water, the lonely hour?
Don’t cry, you cried, rushing to my side
Everything in this house is made to be broken
It must be; I’m so clumsy! And besides, I did it!
I broke it! From another room! With my mind!
It was my fault all along–there is nothing here that is irreplaceable
But your tears break my heart, my heart!
what is the greater gift:
the painted saucer–or its fragments?
now tidied away so cheerfully
but with an inward fierceness, a blazing vow of something better
something even finer for my love
in our future?