The Nature of Glass

by Lesley Saunders

What is a hand? A tender rake with which to claw your way out of sleep’s thick fleece, to crawl back from the landslip’s brink, to mark the track of your wracked body over the hot sand, so hot it could crack your heart and you still dreaming of the row of lives and loves criss-crossed on your palm, how the crow of time flies.

What is a line? A slow tornado that hauls the land and all its works, its farms and fields, its waymarks, causeways, orchards, oaks, altar-stones imperceptibly askew to make a path for wayfarers, as if the ghost of a star had slewed too close and between the Circus and the Crescent left its spoor in a cast of solid luminosity.

What is glass? The kind of sand that wants to spill like water, the kind of river that yearns to circle a wrist, the kind of bangle from which you’d hang a child’s first tooth, the kind of pearl that grows from a frit of dune, the kind of wave that scours your soul, the kind of ache that falls as rain, the kind of sea that’s a caul of sky, the kind of light that will gash your hand.