An oval platter perches in the drainer, precariously balanced. I notice the carefully arranged pile of clean dishes, resting just so by the one who managed to fit every washed and rinsed piece together like a tower of Jenga blocks.
I lean over the pile to open the cupboard above, the one that holds medicines, vitamins, and the thermometer. My arm bumps the platter which loses its balance on the top of the stack and crashes to the floor, breaking into pieces.
The noise itself is enough to evoke strong response. A child stands near, waiting for me to retrieve cold medicine. I swallow back words rising to the surface, past my chest, into my throat, longing to escape my lips in a fury of noise.
Stand back. A dish just broke. Are you hurt? Watch out for the pieces.
I take care of the medicine and send her upstairs to get ready for bed as I gather the shatter.
I have two other identical platters, left over from days when I was snatching replacements up on Ebay. I am not sad that it is broken as much as I am annoyed that I have to clean the mess.
I want to blame someone for this, for the fact that something fell unexpectedly and broke, even though it was the result of imbalance and gravity. I turn on myself in a familiar pattern. I could have emptied the tower of dishes from the drainer before reaching over to get cold medicine for a child. Does it matter?
There is no fault.
It’s not about the falling or breaking or blaming. It is about what stirs inside. Always the stirring.
Going backwards to find myself
Picking up the pieces
Fragments like the broken platter on the kitchen floor.
The large shards are easy to see, to gather
I collect them in a stack and set them aside to glue later
Where are the splinters?
Those are the bits that will surprise out of nowhere
In the middle of the night
Seemingly invisible, yet sharp
Unseen by the eye but felt by the skin when inadvertently stepped upon
I trust a well-placed light to illumine the space
Revealing the slivers before they can harm
I’m finding the pieces to put back together
But should one go missing and enter the skin
A light can illumine the bit of the edge
To pull out with tweezers before it goes deep
Large parts of the story
collected in files
In my mind, in my journals, in my heart
They are gathered, assembled
While the splinters remain scattered
Waiting their turn to be collected, too
Just in a different way
Often piercing under the skin
Seen by the light of love
Tended by kindess
To be put back together
Revealing a brand new purpose.