Monday, April 18, 2011



All along the curb, people in pajamas
peering into parked cars,
the front passenger windows of ten cars

smashed in. What tool did they choose
to shatter the glass, a hammer,
a baseball bat. What kept us all from

hearing it, pane after pane breaking
into pebble-sized pieces,
destruction retreating from the street

like an echo. In every action, restraint.
Only one window bashed in
per vehicle, this car but not that one,

only on one side of the street, only
this street. The police collect
our names and dates of birth, catalog

the few items taken. We eye what’s left
warily. Two hours later, I vacuum
the front seat, pick glass from the doors,

run a damp cloth over the console.
In the sun, the dust glitters.
To turn a car window into glass confetti,

give it a good tap. It was designed
to break in just this way,
to fall away elegantly, in smithereens.


  1. Wow, Hannah! This is so so good. If it draws form life, it's quite a story. The random destruction and invasion are things that make me wonder about humanity. I'm guessing it is. Either way, I love this.

  2. This exact thing has happened a number of times in our area; sometimes, instead of a window being busted, it's a tire slashed. You've captured it perfectly; your concluding lines excellent.

  3. This happenend to me on my honeymoon. I was jaunting out for an early morning walk before the Palm Springs July sun turned acetylene, when almost in passing I noticed the side windows of our rental car were mosaics of diamonds, with a warped abyss in the center from which my wife's journal, walkman and sneakers had been extracted (her expensive camera equipment was left untouched). The sneakers and the walkman walked away forever but the much more important journal was found later that day in the desert by an Indian kid. The experience (even the driving the gangsterized rental ever so gingerly down Sonny Bono Boulevard) was a real gift, as it brought out how good everyone was about it, the deep reservoirs of love.

    It's been a long time since I've thought of this. Thanks for bringing the memory back. There is something eerie and poem-worthy about the particular kind of carjack.

  4. I was feeling a lot of stress reading this because I have experienced it and then wanted to move ....however, you sly poet you ended it with

    "To turn a car window into glass confetti,

    give it a good tap. It was designed
    to break in just this way,
    to fall away elegantly, in smithereens."

    I think I can breathe now. You rock! xo

  5. Vivid imagery! Sad that this really happens, though.

  6. I have often pondered how car window glass is designed to shatter that way. Excellent poem Hannah!

  7. This happened to me once so now when I get a car, I roll the window down and tape clear cellophane. I don't leave important or expensive things in the car and don't lock it.

    I take it off when I'm traveling

  8. What I like most is how you managed to transmute an ordinarily horrible experience into something of great beauty - to find a sense of wonder in the mundane, to turn broken glass, as it were, into shimmering crystalline confetti.


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