No matter if you've been dating for years or a few weeks, breaking up can make you feel like the world is crashing down around you. But I'm here to tell you that there's one thing that just might
get you through a breakup: poems.
As long as there have been love poems, there have been breakup poems. After all, love is freaking
hard, and when you do everything right, it can still fall apart. But one of the incredible things about poetry is that it can take those feelings that seem inexpressible and lay them out on the page. When you read a poem that really gets to the core of what you're feeling, you'll get a little bit of much-needed release.
Of course, breakups are defined by cliches:
"It's not you, it's me." "Let's just be friends." "There will be other fish in the sea." And while it's true that cliches can be comforting, I wanted to find you some poems that you haven't read a million times before. Who knows, maybe the silver lining of this breakup will be that you discover a new favorite poet.
So, if you're going through a breakup, here are some poems that are perfect for you right now. They capture all the pain of heartbreak, and give you something beautiful to soak in as you process everything that just happened:
1 "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." Click here to read. 2 "Things That Happened During Petsitting That I Remind Myself Are Not Metaphors for My Heart" by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz "On the couch, the cat crawls on top of me and loves me so hard, his claws draw blood. I am so lonely, I do nothing to stop it." Click here to read. 3 "Love Elegy in the Chinese Garden, with Koi" by Nathan McClain "Because who hasn’t done that— loved so intently even after everything has gone? Loved something that has washed its hands of you?" Click here to read. 4 "You thought" by Dorothea Lasky "You thought I’d flipped the switch and I hadn’t You thought I’d left the window open And I wouldn’t You thought I’d turn the dial up But I didn’t" Click here to read. 5 "This Was Once a Love Poem" by Jane Hirshfield "This was once a love poem, before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short, before it found itself sitting, perplexed and a little embarrassed, on the fender of a parked car, while many people passed by without turning their heads." Click here to read. 6 "Movement Song" by Audre Lorde "your goodbye is a promise of lightning in the last angels hand unwelcome and warning the sands have run out against us we were rewarded by journeys away from each other into desire into mornings alone" Click here to read. 7 "dear love," by Barbara Jane Reyes "there are times when missing you hurts. so it comes to this, vying for geography. there is a prayer stuck in my throat. douse me in gasoline, my love, and strike a match. let’s see this prayer ignite to high heaven." Click here to read. 8 "Local News: Woman Dies in Chimney" by Kristen Tracy "One neighbor speaks directly into the microphone, asks how a person could disregard so much: the damper, the flue, the smoke shelf. He can’t imagine what it was she faced." Click here to read. 9 "Love, I'm Done With You" by Rose Gay "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. ( you’d say: and I was a bird. Sing! you’d say: and I never really knew what that meant, Freedom! but liked the way it rang like a rusty bell.) Used to be." Click here to read. 10 "A Pity, We Were Such a Good Invention" by Yehuda Amichai, translated by Assia Gutmann "They amputated Your thighs off my hips. As far as I'm concerned They are all surgeons. All of them." Click here to read. 11 "The Coin of Your Country" by Monica Ferrell "When I take my scissors to your shirts, I am frightened: not that they will whimper But that they won’t understand the violence I mean. That kind of violence is the other side of love," Click here to read. 12 "You Are the Penultimate Love of My Life" by Rebecca Hazelton "The garden you plant and I plant is tunneled through by voles, the vowels we speak aren’t vows," Click here to read. 13 "Red Ghazal" by Aimee Nezhukumathil "I throw away my half-finished letters to him in my tiny pink wastebasket, but my aim is no good. The floor is scattered with fire hazards, declarations unread." Click here to read. 14 "Waiting for This Story to End Before I Begin Another" by Jan Heller Levi "All my stories are about being left, all yours about leaving. So we should have known. Should have known to leave well enough alone; we knew, and we didn’t." Click here to read. 15 "I Don't Miss It" by Tracy K. Smith "But sometimes I forget where I am, Imagine myself inside that life again. Recalcitrant mornings. Sun perhaps, Or more likely colorless light" Click here to read. 16 "The Flurry" by Sharon Olds "new troupes of tears mount to the acrobat platforms of my ducts and do their burning leaps. Some of them jump straight sideways, and, for a moment, I imagine a flurry of tears like a of knives thrown whirra at a figure, to outline it—a heart’s spurt of rage. It glitters, in my vision, I nod to it, it is my hope." Click here to read. 17 "You Love, You Wonder" by Brenda Shaughnessy "You wonder where she goes all night. If she leaves you, you will know everything about love. If she’s leaving you now, you already know it." Click here to read. 18 "Hyacinth" by Louise Glück "And from the blood of the wound a flower sprang, lilylike, more brilliant than the purples of Tyre." Click here to read. 19 "Mine Is the First Rodeo, Mine Is the Last Accolade" by Jaswinder Bolina "I’m grateful to the man now sleeping with my ex-lover. It’s true I loved her, but it’s right that someone be with her now in the dark hour of our republic. Life is no good anymore." Click here to read. 20 "Conjugal Elegy" by Valerie Wetlaufer "You held my hand . We listened to the Callas arias on our porch. You kept rewinding the love song back to the beginning to the place where she saings, ." Certainly not today Click here to read. 21 "stop bath" by Kirby Knowlton "they say that every seven years your body replaces each cell it has ever known. soon i will be new again." Click here to read.