How to Break Glass

— Bryce Emley

the head of a [Batavian tear] can withstand impact with a small hammer …
but the tail can be broken with just finger pressure leading to catastrophic disintegration
—Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics

Hold flame to sand and it lusters into glass.
               Hold flame to glass and it surrenders

                              a drop, elegant and brimming
as a tear. If caught early enough

               in water, it curls densely into itself: a dazzling
                              little knuckle the color of breath.

Those final gasping days, cancer
               pearled on her lungs, even then

                              she must have thought she wouldn’t die—
clean laundry unfolded, leftovers in the fridge,

               in an empty bedroom an open window,
                              afternoon swelter pouring in. From the hardened

drop a tail unlaces like ribbon,
               thinning delicately to an end. Touch it,

everything erupts into dust.

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