The Party

By Jason Shinder 1955–2008 Jason Shinder
And that’s how it is; everyone standing up from the big silence
 
of the table with their glasses of certainty and plates of forgiveness
and walking into the purple kitchen; everyone leaning away from the gas stove
 
Marie blows on at the very edge of the breaking blue-orange-lunging-
 
forward flames to warm another pot of coffee, while the dishes pile up in the sink,
perfect as a pyramid. Aaah, says Donna, closing her eyes,
 
and leaning on Nick’s shoulders as he drives the soft blade of the knife
 
through the glittering dark of the leftover chocolate birthday cake.
That’s it; that’s how it is; everyone standing around as if just out of the pool,
 
drying off, standing around, that’s it, standing, talking,
 
shuffling back and forth on the deck of the present
before the boat slowly pulls away into the future. Because it hurts
 
to say goodbye, to pull your body out of the warm water;
 
to step out of the pocket of safety, clinging to what you knew,
or what you thought you knew about yourself and others.
 
That’s how it is, that’s it, throwing your jacket over your shoulders
 
like a towel and saying goodbye Victoria goodbye Sophie goodbye
Lili goodbye sweetie take care be well hang in there see you soon.

Jason Shinder, “The Party” from Stupid Hope. Copyright © 2009 by Jason Shinder. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press, www.graywolfpress.org

Source: Stupid Hope (Graywolf Press, 2009)

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Poet Jason Shinder 1955–2008

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Indoor Activities, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

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 Relationships, Friends & Enemies, Activities, Indoor Activities, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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