Shayna Hodkin is a Spellbinding Poet

Shayna is a 31-year old writer living in Tel Aviv, Israel. She spends her days as the director of content for a tech company, but saves most of her creative energy for penning (really great) poetry. Speaking of which, all the poetry in this post is Shayna’s.


alive for 31 years and
hungry for every one
of them grains of rice
stuck to the pot
time is after dark frozen
bread and chocolate chips
dinner silent secret i’ve
never had enough

In her own words:

I grew up on Long Island, in New York, in a town called Great Neck that I deeply love. I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish community where womxn are, if not necessarily subservient, not dominant. We were taught in school that womxn are “special” and that’s why there are so many laws policing their dress and behavior.


“you have already experienced
the lowest point in a downward
cycle” my hair frizzes and knots
on contact my husband broke
the glass under his foot we pray
for messiah the skeletons
dance in jerusalem compulsions
come too fast to name i wash
my hands i bless my bread my dead
stay dead

“i thought you would
handle this better” can
someone share the guide
to surviving
a plague please carve
the cancer
out of my skin anger
so deep it took
three pages to find
i dreamed
about a cavernous spin
bike i confronted
[redacted] but got no
satisfaction important
parts of my life are
dying leo moon is
no excuse

Shayna & Jack

That is love

When I say I love you, I mean
you are always the best option. I prefer
life with you to life without you. That is
how I love: always thinking about the end.
The Hebrew word for longing is ga’agu’im
and it sounds right: a guttural word for
a guttural feeling. When we met I hated
something about your voice, but one day
I couldn’t remember what it was. That is love
and why I didn’t think it would happen to me;
that anyone would or could look past scars
and hairs and a laugh that keeps reinventing
itself. I have spent a lot of time thinking about
life without you and have come to the conclusion
that, while life may have been simpler before we
met, now it will never be simple again. We can only
miss what was ours and I would miss you terribly. That is love.

Headline History

The titles for the VOICES Series come from Exercise #2 in the Permission to Speak Workbook. The exercise, “You have more power than you know,” encourages participants to choose a title from a list that is offered, or — if none of those titles feels right — to make up one of their own.

Reader. Writer. Hangnail biter. @wordsbyladonna