A weekly poem, read by the author.
March 27 2012 10:53 AM


Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Paul Breslin read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

How did you feel?

Angry. She couldn’t
Let me be
She was a mirror
In which I saw
Not myself
But the way she saw me.

Did you nonetheless love her?

I couldn’t avoid it.
Turned compass,
I mapped the world
Backwards. I hoped
I might be re-turned,
So love could point
Toward its pole-star
Instead of away from it.

Why point to the mirror
Where no one lives
And the stars, which see no one?

I longed to be no one,
Like her ashes scattered
Across the parkBetween where our brick
Apartment had stood
And the white museum
That survived it:
Free to fly
Where the wind drives,
Or, mingled with rain,
Seep under the roots.

What did you think?

Never again that mouth
Pursed in chastisement
Or tensed in its prim
Seam of resistance—
How must it feel
To be done with it?

How do you feel?

As if I’d been leaning
My whole life on a wall,
Straining to move it,
And then, when it vanished,
I leaned on air.

Am I free to go now?

What do you think?

For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click here. Click here to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site. Click here for an archive of discussions about poems with Robert Pinsky in "the Fray," Slate's reader forum.



The World’s Politest Protesters

The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:58 PM The Religious Right Is Not Happy With Republicans  

How Did the Royals Win Despite Bunting So Many Times? Bunting Is a Terrible Strategy.

Federal Law Enforcement Has Declared War on Encryption

Justice and the FBI really do not like Apple’s and Google’s new privacy measures.

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now.


Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.


How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The One Fact About Ebola That Should Calm You: It Spreads Slowly

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

  News & Politics
Oct. 1 2014 7:26 PM Talking White Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
Oct. 1 2014 6:02 PM Facebook Relaxes Its “Real Name” Policy; Drag Queens Celebrate
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 5:11 PM Celebrity Feminist Identification Has Reached Peak Meaninglessness
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 6:39 PM Spoiler Special: Transparent
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 6:59 PM EU’s Next Digital Commissioner Thinks Keeping Nude Celeb Photos in the Cloud Is “Stupid”
  Health & Science
Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?