Arrow Breaking Apart

By Jason Shinder 1955–2008 Jason Shinder
While lovers sleep, I dig my nails into the earth,
holding up traffic. Just now a cloud has pulled up
while I was talking to the Emptiness
of the Universe and my voice plugged into the waves
at the bottom of the ocean.
My heart is taped up like a child’s drawing
of the moon over the broken window of the sky
where the wind always comes back to fill my lungs.
I will dance on my shadow. I will open my mouth
with the air inside my mother’s coffin.
I will be the arrow breaking apart in the body
of the blackbird, which appears at my window, singing.

Jason Shinder, “Arrow Breaking Apart” from Stupid Hope. Copyright © 2009 by Jason Shinder. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press,

Source: Stupid Hope (Graywolf Press, 2009)

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Poet Jason Shinder 1955–2008

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Relationships

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagery, Metaphor


Born in Brooklyn, poet and editor Jason Shinder grew up there and in Merrick, New York. He earned a BA at Skidmore College.
Shinder is the author of three collections of poetry: the posthumously published Stupid Hope (2009), Among Women (2001), and Every Room We Ever Slept In (1993), a New York Public Library Notable Book. In a review of Among Women, poet Carol Muske-Dukes observed, “I don’t know of any male poet that . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Relationships

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Imagery, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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