Four Bagels and a Mug, & Broken Mirrors Aren't Bad Luck by Lucia De Luca

Four Bagels and a Mug, & Broken Mirrors Aren't Bad Luck by Lucia De Luca

Four Bagels and a Mug


Before my parents’ wedding photos

face the wall at the back of what is now

my mother’s unshared closet,

she is in the kitchen cutting bagels in half

using a bagel slicer

“It is better to cut the bagels before you freeze them,”

she reminds me,

“and you need to freeze them so that they stay fresh longer”

With this batch of bagels, the bagel slicer is creating one

half too thick and the other too thin

rather than two equal infinite loops

My mother, sure disappointment is ahead,

still uses the bagel slicer to cut a fourth bagel;

perhaps, it is her way of resisting calling a centre that still has

light shining through it

a black hole;

or perhaps, when the thinner half breaks at its smallest point again,

she considers it a victor rather than broken

because of its refusal to bear its hole

But still, when I say, “Maybe, stop cutting them with the slicer”,

my mother looks at me like I am novel

and pulls out a toothed knife

The remaining bagels take longer to split

but my mother is pleased by their symmetry


A few years before the bagel incident,

I give my father a mug I got for him while in Athens

on a school trip

My father uses the mug a few times that week

before he notices that the dishwasher

is causing the print to start to fade

He is frowning at the mug when I tell him,

“Maybe, it’s more of a handwash kind of mug”

He shrugs under the weight of being the recipient

of a gift that requires his effort to preserve

He keeps using the mug,

but also keeps putting it in the dishwasher,

and after a few dozen times, the print is

nearly invisible

The mug gets in line and spends the next few weeks

scooching its way to the back of the cupboard,

a relatively comfortable place,

because if you have to be naked in public,

you can do so more inconspicuously

with your back against the wall


Some reconfigurations later,

my mother is packing my father’s things

I know she keeps the bagel slicer that was originally

a Christmas present to my father,

but I am not sure if the mug is packed in one of

my father’s boxes,

and I do not check the back of the cupboard

It hurts less to consider the mug Schrödinger-ed rather than dead,

both part of a life I acknowledge we existed in

and part of a life my parents want to forget

 My parents may question who this poem villainizes,

but a previous version of myself only had the armour of

preparing to write this story,

and it was then that I decided stubbornly that

there would be no villains

and that the only confirmed victims

are the mug and the first third of a dozen bagels

And while in my father’s narrative,

he is bagel whose brokenness is hidden under cream cheese

spread by his slicer’s knife,

and while in my mother’s tale

she is not just blank mug,

she is chipped rim being bled on by the lips of her user,

this poem is mine, and

I am bagel nor mug;

I am only their most attuned observer


Broken Mirrors Aren’t Bad Luck


I was hung

on the inside of her

locker door

The same height

as her face

so that she could gaze into me

and then I could project back to her

what I saw

Between every class

she dropped her books off

and she gazed into me

She looked through my purple frame


She wanted me to see her

But straight hair, curly hair,

a few zits or clear skin,

twelve pounds more or twelve pounds less,

I'd always find a way of whispering:



I was her friend,

not her enemy,

but I never held on to her locker door

quite right

I constantly slid up and down,

and sideways

I fell over and over,

enough times for you to hear

a soft ringing every time

she picked me up from the floor

I trusted her,

because every time I fell,

she handed the power back to me,

placing me just right

The same height

as her face

so that she could gaze into me

and then I could project back to her

what I saw


I could see the pain in her eyes

every time

she opened her locker door


trying look past me

I'd call to her

and tell her to woman up

and be accepting of the truth

And so

she'd give into me,

she'd gaze into me,

hopeful each time

and each time I would whisper:



"A pitiful case"


Until, one day,

I slipped, and she didn't catch me

She was getting her books again,

shoulders hunched,

eyes sad

When I fell and shattered

at her feet,

her jaw dropped slightly

but not long enough for anyone

but me to notice because

a hopeful grin

crept across her face

a lot faster than I was ever able to paint

an unconfident, sorrowful frown


I begged her to pick me up

and glue me back together

I knew the cracks in me would be apparent,

but I could live with several cracks in me;

I knew I could because I forced her to

every day

She began to pick up my pieces,

and I thought she was going to let me live,

but instead she threw me away piece

by piece

I tried to stop her

I told her that if she put me back together,

it would not matter that she broke me

I would repay her by retracting

the seven years of bad luck she had rightfully earned

She caught my bluff;

even though I was fragmented, made of more eyes now,

she knew she had trusted wrongly

in someone as fragile as I


She forgot a piece of me

at the foot of her locker

From there, I watched as

she closed the door

and walked away:

chin, though not all the way up,

still tilted a little higher, and

shoulders, though not all the way up,

still opened up a little more to the sky


Executive Producers

Daniel Henson

Karolina Ristevski

Elliot Cameron

Sue White

Waste by  Frank Candiloro

Waste by Frank Candiloro

Salt Cellar by Shastra Deo

Salt Cellar by Shastra Deo