Published on Academy of American Poets (


In a time of faint beasts, no room
is left in the boats. With thin hands,

we huddle sheep and dip a hundred
reeds in mud. The nets wheel away

so often now, sinking through days
poured furious over threshing feet.

As though dared in a foreign tongue
to knot our sleeves, we swim through

broken oars, shout off slender days.
Snakes may cling to trees, and men

tear at bread, but the sky stays hinged.
Only heaven is full of furniture.

We harness ourselves over and over,
wherever hope is a yellow shore.


Copyright © 2015 by Robin Beth Schaer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 19, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“After having a child, my mind was so fractured that I could barely form a sentence. I began writing again by first making erasures from an old book of adventure stories. ‘Nomad’ grew from those fragments of language, drawn together like iron filings, as I struggled with the difficult necessity of remaking one’s self, and one’s community, again and again, to create change.”
Robin Beth Schaer


Robin Beth Schaer

Robin Beth Schaer is the author of Shipbreaking (Anhinga Press, 2015). She teaches creative writing and lives in Wooster, Ohio. 

Date Published: 2015-10-19

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