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Last Updated on August 15, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 528

You remember too much,
my mother said to me recently.

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Why hold onto all that? And I said,
Where can I put it down?
She shifted to a question about airports.

In this quote, the speaker reveals herself to be haunted by memories in a way that does not feel like a choice. The interaction with the mother distinguishes the two women and their attitudes toward life. For the speaker, remembering is a weight she carries, but it is not a choice to carry it: "Where can I put it down?" For the mother, remembering is a conscious decision, a holding, one which she finds unnecessary. We also observe the mother's avoidance, in keeping with her less obsessive memory, in this last line. Rather than address the speaker's challenge to her statement, the mother changes the subject to something more ordinary and less contentious.

Anger travels through me, pushes aside everything else in my heart,
pouring up the vents.
Every night I wake to this anger,

the soaked bed,
the hot pain box slamming me each way I move.
I want justice. Slam.

I want an explanation. Slam.
I want to curse the false friend who said I love you forever. Slam.

This part of "The Glass Essay" communicates raw emotion very directly, and in charged ways, as opposed to the more intellectual style of the rest of the poem. The speaker experiences anger as an all-encompassing emotion, one that supersedes "everything else" she may feel or think. It is active, traveling through her, and it is constant: "Every night I wake to this anger." She characterizes the anger, which makes her sweat so much it leaves the bed "soaked," as "pouring." So it pours not only out of her heart but out of her body as well. Her heart, activated in this way, becomes a "hot pain box," not her center but her enemy, "slamming" her repeatedly. Desire—these three things she lists as things she wants—is torturous and enraging. The anger leads, in the third instance, to her wanting revenge on the...

(The entire section contains 528 words.)

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