Sunday, April 10, 2011



When we reached Genoa, and the sea did not
open, and we were offered homes or exile,
there was little choice. We had survived the hot
summer, the frozen Alps. This was another trial
in our service of God. We left behind the weak
and walked to Pisa. The coastline was bleak,
but we were sure the sea would open elsewhere,
though each day, less sure. It was clear
that God had abandoned Nicholas, so now
we had no leader. We had no homes. We had
to continue—even when we saw how bad
were the ships that Pisa offered. I sat on the prow
as we left port, Palestine far, but in God’s grace.
Of ourselves and our boat remains no trace.

(from Striking Surface, Ashland Press, originally published in Virginia Quarterly Review)


And now the world cracks open, like an enormous egg,
but not really, ha ha, nothing really cracks the world open,
not even that meteor that killed the dinosaurs. The world
was fine, still there, even if not quite the world it had been
the day before. Like how Dresden was still there, but not
quite Dresden, or Hiroshima, how it was there, but not quite Hiroshima.
The statistical probability of being a dinosaur
at the moment that the meteor hit is impossible to calculate,
because you would have to know whether any given dinosaur
was as likely to be any other given dinosaur, or whether
any living thing is as likely to be any other living thing—
but no matter what, the chance was tiny. No matter how you do
the math, every single dinosaur was statistically safe from
meteors. But then again, here we are, you and me, as human
and furless as we might have hoped, tiny teeth, opposable
thumbs, and all the birds locked out of our safe, insured

(from Striking Surface, originally published in American Poetry Review)

New York City poet Jason Schneiderman, who featured at The Inspired Word in Sept. 2010, is the author of Striking Surface, winner of the Richard Snyder prize from Ashland Poetry Press, and Sublimation Point, a Stahlecker Selection from Four Way Books. His poetry and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, The Best American Poetry, Grand Street, The Penguin Book of the Sonnet, Story Quarterly, and Tin House among other places. He has received fellowships from Yaddo, The Fine Arts Work Center, and The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He was the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Award from the Poetry Society of America in 2004. He currently directs the Writing Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

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