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Arrow Breaking Apart

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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, www.graywolfpress.org
Source: Stupid Hope (Graywolf Press, 2009)
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Arrow Breaking Apart

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  • 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 approximates the honest terror and desire, the sense of shock that runs through these poems. The poems in Among Women are so fixed in a merciless surgical light and yet they’re so tender and alive with emotion.” Shinder’s stark yet lyrical poems are often concerned with loss, joy, and the vulnerable intimacy of relationships.
    A noted editor and anthologist, Shinder edited 10 anthologies, including The Poem That Changed America: “Howl” Fifty Years Later...

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