The Reality of Glass

They stood behind the riot shields, bare hands pressed against the clear plastic. Braced against those who stood on the other side of the line. Their faces were enclosed behind protective gear, face shields. But a sense of fear, maybe an urgency, a question, lingers in the eyes that can barely be seen given the glare of the lights.

The window panes are cobwebbed. Trapezoids blend into circles, fractured and built on one another. The epicenter bulges slightly inward.

Men stand behind stacked leather benches, their arms pressed forward in long, linear lines. Pistols held at the ready. Inches away, the white glass is broken, an angular polygonic section missing. A face is pressed against the gap. An eye. Watching. Staring at the barrels, at the readied hands with fingers on–close to–by–the triggers.

Cell phones held above heads, the screens alive and reliving the events being recorded. Images blend. Reality is disturbed like a placid lake curdling with surging ripples after a stone is heaved into the center.

He stands behind his glass and sees nothing, sees everything. The light streaks. The words turn, pour through an hourglass. The reality changes, is reinterpreted. Becomes a new reality, a convoluted bitter tea swallowed. Consumed. Devoured. Ingested.

The glass lies. The glass reflects. The glass bends and breaks. The moment is surrendered and sundered and my television glows, holds on to the cancer. I shift my anxiety into my other hand. Clench my hands into fists that will touch no one but will bend my fingernails into my palms. I mar my skin. My life and heart lines are intersected by crescent moon markings.

I remember the helplessness of 9/11. Sitting in my living room and watching the constant cycles of images. Planes flying into buildings. Buildings falling. The government standing on the Capital steps and singing “God Bless America.” In the end, I knew where to look for my sense of protection.

On January 6th, I felt that old fear. Felt the sense of helplessness. I watched the police create lines behind riot shields and press their bare hands against the transparent plastic. And I felt such great sorrow. To see them protecting us against ourselves. And I felt no sense of protection against this reality.

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