Breaking the Jug

I held the gallon jug in my right hand,
One finger curling into its mouth like a question,
And I hurled it at the wall.  It had a decent heft,
The unsurprising sense of a thing as it is.
It was not a beautiful jug, or old,
No more valuable than the jug we break
Whenever we open our eyes.
A little wine roiled in the bottom,
Stoically concealing the past.
The jug floated like a small green cloud,
Ruling the apartment’s gray, bare sky.
When it touched the wall
There was a moment when its axis
And the gigantic axis of the world
Crossed for the last time, like swords.
Its cheap seam glinted tragically
For things are always ready for this cue.
Then the jug blew apart under the impact of laws
That flood out into life.  The shards of glass
And drops of wine scattered like a busted paradise,
Fulfilling slovenly equations of gravity and momentum
Where they could come to a mosaic rest.

We lay spattered with wreckage, laughing.
The room was bathed in the continuing light
Of an afternoon.  As shadows slowly traveled
Away from themselves, the brilliant shards
Sparkled like the traffic coursing the streets below,
Each shoe and hubcap searching for that destination
Where all things might join again with light and love
And thereby return to their senses.

-- Reprinted from The Kenyon Review