There are the bits and pieces of us,
deep past the green parts of Jamaica Plains,
in the first apartment
on the second floor, like some carcass
of an unfortunate thing,
strung about haphazardly, splayed out
in your old storage closet, dead;

probably, hopefully;
hiding, hidden, hung on the
branches of the IKEA bookshelf
with the wobbly third panel,
we lost the screw;
crudely spiked on the brambles of the
budget coat hangs, cluttered but empty,
just in a different way then
when we struggled to fill them;

the half-opened box of
Adventure Time band-aids,
four left in the packet, the
CVS had them for kids but
you insisted, left on the TV stand
where we pile our mail;

we never bothered with the silver screen,
nearly, at least, the lazy bone
always had company, abandoned
but never lonely, showing off
its coat of dust, five shows we’ve started,
six you probably finished on your own;
seven months together, the summer apart,

I would’ve never stayed, but the thorn
in my heart kept me in place, knowing
I would be butchered and flayed;
let me finish, let me just say:
we were both birds, we were both prey;

the first apartment on the second floor,
where the pieces of me lay,
just found new people today;
unlike you, unlike me,
my little shrike.
Let go.

About this poem

Somewhere in a Jamaica Plains apartment, I think I may have left my old iPhone charger.

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Written on April 21, 2023

Submitted by Jewoo525 on April 20, 2023

1:21 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic tetrameter
Characters 1,311
Words 270
Stanzas 6
Stanza Lengths 7, 9, 6, 7, 5, 7

Je Woo Han

Korean college student, amateur poet. more…

All Je Woo Han poems | Je Woo Han Books

12 fans

Discuss the poem Shrike with the community...

  • Vixility
    Your poem came swiftly together for me in the fifth stanza, and especially with the line: "we were both birds, we were both prey ". The descriptive imagery you use leading up to that point (memories and literal scraps of memories) is remarkable and, as someone already mentioned, nostalgic.

    If the fifth stanza alludes to a toxic relationship coming to an end, then the sixth stanza is a powerful expression of its (reluctant?) dissolution. I say reluctant because the words "my little shrike" seems to contain within it a lingering sense gentleness and care.

    Another thing I like about this poem is its subtle allusion to time and history (please inform me if I'm overreading this). Briefly: a couple with a turbulent history move out of an apartment (first stanza) leaving memories and literal items strewn behind (the following four stanzas) as new people (people 'unlike you, unlike me') are moving in. Am I reaching?

    Anyhow, your ability for description is a virtue!
    LikeReply 19 months ago
    • Jewoo525
      Oh man thank you so much for your kind words, I really appreciate it. I’m so glad you picked up on the breadcrumbs I was leaving, I’m always trying to work on subtly and trusting the reader- your eye for detail and attention strengthens my faith.

      I tried to drop in a sense of time with the sequencing of things leading up to seven (first apartment, second floor, four left, etc), for seven months. And then the last stanza winding down from seven words to one. Retracing those memories of seven months if you will.

      Thank you again for your comment and critically thinking about this piece, I’m sure no writer here can ask for more from a peer. Keep writing!
      LikeReply 19 months ago
    • Vixility
      Wow! Truthfully, I didn’t catch that with the last stanza, very cool! I read the poem through several time and kept wondering to myself why it tapered off so rapidly. I’ll have to keep the depth of your thinking in mind as I explore your other works.

      I always love your closing words: “Keep writing.”
      LikeReply 19 months ago
  • TortillasAreNotBiceps
    You're one of the best poets I've ever read. Please, never stop writing. You deserve to be read.
    LikeReply 211 months ago
  • jeremyt.40101
    We can wonder where the detritus of our lives wind up. I wonder what the new family thinks when they find them. Great poem, my friend. I has a kind of horrific nostalgia to it.
    LikeReply 211 months ago
  • lovingempath
    This poem gave me chills and actually made me cry: and not because you left your cell-phone charger in that apartment, but because rarely do I run across such a vividly visual piece of poetry that captures a moment of time that left an impact on our life. I think this is a beautiful piece of poetic art. 
    LikeReply 11 year ago
    • Jewoo525
      thank you so much! This means so much to me that a former contest winner is complimenting me with such kind words. Thank you again and keep writing!
      LikeReply 21 year ago
  • swapna.sanchita
    I like the narrative style that hides deep emotion in the plain guise of simple, everyday seemingly ordinary things.
    LikeReply 11 year ago


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"Shrike" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 18 Jun 2024. <>.

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