18 Poems To Get You Through Any Kind Of Breakup

by Charlotte Ahlin

I think you can probably agree that love is terrible and in no way worth the effort. I mean, sure, in theory you find someone you care about and give some measure of meaning to the mortifying experience of being alive. But in reality, you usually wind up with a few solid Instagram pics and a brief distraction from your own mortality before getting ghosted/cheated on/unceremoniously dumped. Breakups suck. On the bright side, though, breakups are an excellent opportunity to express your feelings through poetry and chocolate consumption. There are so few other life events in which it is appropriate to send a snarky poem through the U.S. postal system (email will also work in a pinch). So if you're looking for the perfect way to express feelings of heartbreak, loss, and rage to your no-longer significant other, here are a few great poems for breakup letters.

Of course, every breakup is different. Maybe you need to gently break it to your S.O. that things just aren't working out. Perhaps you want to express regret over something that might have been. Or, quite possibly, you'd like to stick it to that colossal jerk using a few viscous rhymes. Whatever your breakup needs, there's a poem out there for you:

'Two Cures for Love' by Wendy Cope

"1. Don’t see him. Don’t phone or write a letter.

2. The easy way: get to know him better."

Click here to read.

'Rent' by Jane Cooper

"I don't want your rent, I want

a radiance of attention

like the candle's flame when we eat,

I mean a kind of awe

attending the spaces between us—

Not a roof but a field of stars."

Click here to read.

'Movement Song' by Audre Lorde

"I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck

moving away from me

beyond anger or failure

your face in the evening schools of longing

through mornings of wish and ripen

we were always saying goodbye

in the blood in the bone over coffee

before dashing for elevators going

in opposite directions

without goodbyes."

Click here to read.

'Our Many Never Endings' by Courtney Queeney

"Inside my chest, a mangle.

Inside yours, a deflating balloon.

You took the vacuum cleaner, the ironing board, the dish rack

and left me some lint, an iron to scorch shirts, one chipped plate.

I would like to say at least we perfected

entrances and exits, like professional stage actors"

Click here to read.

'Song Of One Of The Girls' by Dorothy Parker

"I'm of the glamorous ladies

At whose beckoning history shook.

But you are a man, and see only my pan,

So I stay at home with a book."

Click here to read.

'Love, I'm Done with You' by Ross Gay

"You ever wake up with your footie PJs warming

your neck like a noose? Ever upchuck

after a home-cooked meal? Or notice

how the blood on the bottoms of your feet

just won’t seem to go away? Love, it used to be

you could retire your toothbrush for like two or three days and still

I’d push my downy face into your neck. Used to be

I hung on your every word. (Sing! you’d say: and I was a bird.

Freedom! you’d say: and I never really knew what that meant,

but liked the way it rang like a rusty bell.) Used to be. But now

I can tell you your breath stinks and you’re full of shit."

Click here to read.

'A Pity, We Were Such a Good Invention' by Yehuda Amichai

"A pity. We were such a good

And loving invention.

An aeroplane made from a man and wife.

Wings and everything.

We hovered a little above the earth.

We even flew a little."

Click here to read.

'Indian Summer' by Dorothy Parker

"In youth, it was a way I had

To do my best to please,

And change, with every passing lad,

To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,

And do the things I do;

And if you do not like me so,

To hell, my love, with you!"

Click here to read.

'Haiku' by Jorge Luis Borges

"Since that day

I have not moved the pieces

On the board."

Click here to read.

'Quick And Bitter' by Yehuda Amichai

"Slow and sweet were the nights.

Now is bitter and grinding as sand—

'Let's be sensible' and similar curses."

Click here to read.

'Time does not bring relief; you all have lied' by Edna St. Vincent Millay

"There are a hundred places where I fear

To go,—so with his memory they brim.

And entering with relief some quiet place

Where never fell his foot or shone his face

I say, “There is no memory of him here!”

And so stand stricken, so remembering him."

Click here to read.

'You Are the Penultimate Love of My Life' by Rebecca Hazelton

"I want to spend a lot but not all of my years with you.

We’ll talk about kids

but make plans to travel.

I will remember your eyes

as green when they were gray.

Our dogs will be named For Now and Mostly.

Sex will be good but next door’s will sound better."

Click here to read.

'No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved' by Mriza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

"Knowing you are faithless keeps me alive and hungry.

Knowing you faithful would kill me with joy.

Delicate are you, and your vows are delicate, too,

so easily do they break.

You are a laconic marksman. You leave me

not dead but perpetually dying."

Click here to read.

'You jerk you didn't call me up' by Bernadette Mayer

"You jerk you didn't call me up

I haven't seen you in so long

You probably have a fucking tan

& besides that instead of making love tonight

You're drinking your parents to the airport

I'm through with you bourgeois boys

All you ever do is go back to ancestral comforts

Only money can get"

Click here to read.

'I have to tell you' by Dorothea Grossman

"I have to tell you,

there are times when

the sun strikes me

like a gong,

and I remember everything,

even your ears."

Click here to read.

'For Women Who Are ‘Difficult’ to Love' by Warsan Shire

"you can’t make homes out of human beings

someone should have already told you that

and if he wants to leave

then let him leave"

Click here to read.

'Differences of Opinion' by Wendy Cope

"He tells her that the Earth is flat—

He knows the facts, and that is that.

In altercations fierce and long

She tries her best to prove him wrong.

But he has learned to argue well.

He calls her arguments unsound

And often asks her not to yell.

She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round.He tells her that the Earth is flat—

He knows the facts, and that is that.

In altercations fierce and long

She tries her best to prove him wrong.

But he has learned to argue well.

He calls her arguments unsound

And often asks her not to yell.

She cannot win. He stands his ground.

The planet goes on being round."

Click here to read.

'You Fit Into Me' by Margaret Atwood

"You fit into me

like a hook into an eye

a fish hook

an open eye"

Click here to read.