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.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Dear Prudence
Sept. 18 2014 6:00 AM All Shook Up My 11-year-old has been exploring herself with my “back massager.” Should I stop her?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 7:23 PM MIT Researchers Are Using Smartphones to Interact With Other Screens
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.