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A Man of Glass


My father collected art glass,

vases and bowls from Webb and Tiffany,

some glazed yellow and red, brilliant as sunsets,

others clear as a splash of water.

Carefully taking one down from a shelf,

he’d say, "Notice the enamel finish"

or "Look at the quality of the inlay."

Each contained its own beauty and signature,

which he delighted in unlocking.


And when the cancer started shaping him

like molten glass, it hollowed out his cheeks,

made deep pontil marks in his bony face.

His eyes glazed to a dark finish on his brittle life,

his unique gesture when curiously pleased—

flicking a finger down his nose and laughing—

his own beauty and signature,

which I would like so much to show you

but is on a shelf I cannot reach.


Michael T. Young



From Transcriptions of Daylight, Rattapallax Press,
© 2000.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

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