Broken glass was everywhere. Or so it seemed. And every time it rained, more glass appeared. For the first few years of living in my ‘new’ house in the ‘hood, I picked up broken glass from the yard.

“Your house used to be a day care,” old Mrs. Blackwell told me. “My youngest boy used to go there,” she added, watching my toddler play nearby as she sat the on brick wall separating our yards, the wall that seem to separate the haves from the never-did-haves.

I couldn’t imagine a day care in the small brick house on the edge of Halifax Court, known all over the Triangle for its drug traffic and gang activity.

This used to be a real nice place.” That’s what Ms. Alma told me, her bright coral lipstick and red hair almost making her look like Venus de Milo. Almost.

“My husband,” she continued, fanning herself with her bright-nailed hand, “He used to work at Medlin Davis. You know, the dry cleaners …”

I let her voice mingle with the noises outside. The little brown children playing on the sidewalk. The traffic rushing by. The breeze in the thick oaks outside her open door. A nice place.

When did it stop being nice? When did Tiny start standing on the corner waiting for Johns? When did Mud Bomb start tipping the bottle? When did the shooting at night start?

Where did all the glass in my yard come from?

We lived and loved there for seven years. And whenever it rained, I’d go out and pick up the glass that washed to the surface, knowing there was more deep down.


And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

Isaiah 58:11-12 KJV