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Keep cracked glasses and chipped plates

There are days when nothing but the sound of solid things shattering will do. Sometimes I offer part of my stash of slightly broken dishes to grieving friends, and they always look at me like I'm nuts. But a deep frustration that hurls pottery against the concrete floor of a carport is not the thing to bottle up in shame. Few things release me like the sound of breaking glass. Nobody has ever called the cops on me for this. I once even saw our neighbor watching me from her second story window. She waved and smiled. I swept up, and the daylight felt broad.


The train is two minutes late

Nobody on the platform can do anything about it, so they are making sympathetic grumpy faces at each other and shifting impatiently from foot to foot. As a consequence, more than half of the people on the train will miss their transfer. This costs each of those crabby people an additional thirteen to twenty-eight minutes. I am one of these people, arriving at work to find one of my students leading her class through the beginning of my lesson plan. This is the day she starts imagining herself as a teacher. That's what delay is about, the timing of our connections.


Cut the crusts off

My mother said that all the vitamins were in the crust, but this was before you could whip out a phone and verify stuff. My mother said deli sandwiches and my father said lunch meat, even if it was for dinner. She did the best she could with pretense, like an Easter egg hunt, broadly sweeping for one good nugget to pop up. My father could eat an entire angel-food cake in one sitting. I never saw him eat chocolate, just like I never saw him wear shorts. He was more of a piƱata type, deeply bashing away at one thing.


Viva Las Vegas

I like death as going off-stage. That's pretty. My kid sister worked lights for the plays in high school, and sometimes I would sit off-stage up in the rafters with her. So, I have been to death. When my sister and I last hung out, I told her tell them I love them when you go home, and tell them I'm never coming home. She didn't believe me, so I sweetened the deal. I put cherries on top of my pretty please. I told her I loved her in sign language. It's the horns, which is also the hand gesture that means rock and roll.


Megan Volpert is a poet and critic who lives in Atlanta, where she teaches high school English. Her fourth book is Sonics in Warholia (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2011). She is currently editing an anthology on queer pedagogy. Predictably, is her website.