eat dust


Long Term

by Stephen Dunn

On this they were in agreement

everything that can happen between two people

happens after a while

or has been thought about so hard

there’s almost no difference

between desire and deed.

Each day they stayed together, therefore,

was a day of forgiveness, tacit,

no reason to say the words.

It was easy to forgive, so much harder

to be forgiven. The forgiven had to agree

o eat dust in the house of the noble

and both knew this couldn’t go on for long.

The forgiven would need to rise;

the forgiver need to remember the cruelty

in being correct.

Which is why, except in crises,

they spoke about the garden,

what happened at work,

the little ailments and aches

their familiar bodies separately felt.
“Long Term” from New and Selected Poems 1974-1994 by Stephen Dunn. Copyright © 1994 by Stephen Dunn. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Al

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