Broken Glass
by Victoria Tester

    On December 22, 1882, an old newspaper
    reports a demented woman was sent from Georgetown
    to the Grant County Jail.

    Sheriff Whitehill is at a loss,
    poor creature,
    New Mexico law makes no provision for paupers or the insane.

    Her name, where she was born, or if she had a sister
    who loved flowering dogwood branches
    are secrets lost among the broken colored glass,
    the pioneer tears
    I've gathered among fallen mining shacks.

    I wonder if it was the brothel.
    If it was one man, or one-hundred.  

    If it was a small crack in a treasured Tiffany lamp
    that split her like kindling.

    Or the disease of a season,
    not too far from midnight singing to the mountain
    mahogany, maybe taking a small one for a child
    to forget the one in the cemetery.

    I wonder if she went to California, on
    one of those wagonloads of the insane.

    Someday I'd like to make a stained glass window
    from these sharp tears I've stolen
    from the earth.
    But it would never go inside a church.

    It would hang against the sky,
    in memory of everyone who broke.

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