Saturday, March 23, 2013


Just when it has seemed I couldn’t bear  
one more friend  
waking with a tumor, one more maniac  

with a perfect reason, often a sweetness  
has come  
and changed nothing in the world  

except the way I stumbled through it,  
for a while lost  
in the ignorance of loving  

someone or something, the world shrunk  
to mouth-size,  
hand-size, and never seeming small.

I acknowledge there is no sweetness  
that doesn’t leave a stain,  
no sweetness that’s ever sufficiently sweet ...
Tonight a friend called to say his lover  
was killed in a car  
he was driving. His voice was low

and guttural, he repeated what he needed  
to repeat, and I repeated  
the one or two words we have for such grief  

until we were speaking only in tones.  
Often a sweetness comes  
as if on loan, stays just long enough  

to make sense of what it means to be alive,  
then returns to its dark  
source. As for me, I don’t care  

where it’s been, or what bitter road  
it’s traveled  
to come so far, to taste so good.

Stephen Dunn

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