Broken Umbrella Song
by Jin Cordaro

The low hum was already beginning
in the backs of our throats, no, deeper in
our chests like small alarms buzzing.
The neighbors kept on swinging, kept
jumping off in mid-air because the song
of regret was not their song.
So we waited until they went inside; then
we carried it like a broken bird and prayed
for metal to heal as bone and when it did not
we prayed some more
for a place like a well, deep enough
for both of us to hide in, because
we knew how this song would end.  This is the song
of the umbrella whose handle broke from
the body for no good reason.
This is the tune that is sung for every
unintended consequence.

by Jin Cordaro

Their throats are white with words inside but
they will not speak.
They are tapping on the glass.
They are nodding their heads because
they have found you.
They are showing you that dream you have where
you are back in Red Mountain Pass.
What you left there grew and gave them seeds.
They have come from that mountain.
They are blinking their eyes until you see
it’s snowing there now, and a storm in April
can bury you.
They are crying how there were leaves
on those trees.
Those aspens pale and tall are pointing
to the darkening sky.

by Jin Cordaro

And it is not the dog
making small sounds in his sleep, or
the crickets chirping so slowly now
in the cold.
But at times, it is loud as the cat
outside the door who wants back in,
but the cat is in his basket.

This thing knows your name.  It wants
as much as you want.
It leaves the cupboards and the drawers
open because
it is not yet finished living.


Jin Cordaro lives with her husband and soon to arrive twin babies in
central New Jersey, where she works at Princeton University.  She
received her MFA in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University
in 2010.  Cordaro’s work has appeared in the
Apple Valley Review,
U.S. 1 Worksheets, and Flywheel.

On “Broken Umbrella Song,” “Two Sparrows Have Come to Your
Window,” and “Something Is Moaning Softly in the House”:
Although I believe that the content of a good poem reflects
something we share in common as human beings, I also believe this
should not be the primary goal in writing a poem.  I credit this to a
quote I read once by Stephen Dunn in an essay: “Beware the poet
who values content more than the handling of content, a danger
especially present in our most personal poems.”  I am currently
obsessed with this idea, and striving to practice it.

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 6, Number 2
(Fall 2011)

Copyright © 2011
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.
Two Sparrows
Have Come to Your Window
Something Is Moaning Softly
in the House