04/25/2011 10:44 am ET | Updated Jun 25, 2011

Poetry: Smithereens



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.

Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, instructor, and singer-songwriter living in Columbus, Ohio. Her work has been featured (or is forthcoming) in publications such as qarrtsiluni, MAYDAY, ouroboros review, Mankind Magazine, Spoonful, and The Birmingham Arts Journal. You can visit her online at her daily poetry blog, The Storialist or find her on Twitter.