Stephen Dunn and the end of it all

from Stephen Dunn’s “Loves” in The Landscape at the End of the Century  (full text here)

…I love the rituals that bring us
together when sullenness persists,
how the dishes must be done,
the children helped toward bed.
I love how familiar bodies drift
back to each other
wordlessly, when the light go out.
Oh we will die soon enough.
Not enough can be said
for a redemptive caress.
How good it’s been to slide back
the heart’s hood awhile, how fortunate
there’s a heart and a covering for it,
and that whatever is still warm
has a chance.
I’m withholding things of course,
secrets I’ll replay, alone,
when my bones go soft.
Even you have no place for them,
my spacious one, you who have existed
to resist me as I’ve made you up.
Do I sense you getting tired now?
Listen, my truest love, I’ve tried
to clear a late-century place for us
in among the shards.  Lie down,
tell me what else you need.
Here is where loveliness can live
with failure, and nothing’s complete.
I love how we go on.


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