torrin a. greathouse


my mother bought the plates because they were marketed as unbreakable.
i sweep shards from the floor while my brother hides in the other room.

my teeth cavity with excuses, with i don’t know my own strength.
but my mother, she knows how easy ceramic can confetti, shrapnel,

takes all the proper precautions. i remember the too-bright paint
in the corner of the kitchen wall, the cabinet of mismatched coffee mugs.

i buy two of everything, cheap & heavy. i don’t remember throwing it.
my grandmother breaks a wineglass every visit. drinks herself to splinters.

i’m diagnosed with bipolar disorder, she with cirrhosis, only days apart,
& is this not exactly what we mean when we rename family as blood, how

my mother & i both know the slow ballet a glass shard makes beneath the skin.


torrin a. greathouse (they/them or she/her pronouns) is a genderqueer, cripple-punk from Southern California. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Black Napkin Press. Their work is published or forthcoming in Bettering American Poetry, The Offing, Duende, Apogee, Frontier, Lunch Ticket, Assaracus, and Glass: Journal of Poetry. She is a 2016 Best New Poets, and Pushcart Prize nominee, and semifinalist for the Adroit Poetry Prize. torrin’s first chapbook, Therǝ is a Case That I Ɐm, is forthcoming from Damaged Goods Press in 2017.