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
to 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.