Poem a Day: A Shoulder



Pressure can be a good thing. It can make you write without thinking too much. And then what comes out might be the product of your subconscious, or it might be nonsense. I’m not sure what this one means, but it was inspired by Jane Hirschfield’s “A Hand”.


A Shoulder

after Jane Hirschfield


A shoulder is not a joint of meat

not clavicle and tendon

scapula and ligament


A shoulder is not a shelf

of bone and muscle

not a socket

for ball and joint to lock

not a projection

where collar and cuff collide


A shoulder

is not a resting place

for vagrant or stray

not a landfall

for the lost

not a spyglass slope

nor bloodhound’s hideout


A shoulder

is not a hollow

for the tears of the stricken

not a launch pad

for armed assault


The shoulder

sacrificed for hunger

is devoured without conscience

a lean memory

of a frisking innocent.



© Mike Hopkins 2014

3 thoughts on “Poem a Day: A Shoulder

  1. Great vegetarian poem Mike. Writing about ethical/political issues is so difficult to do gracefully – I always end up sounding like a crazy cat lady – but you are definitely the master of the form!

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