The Art of Letting Pass

El Parque del Retiro, Madrid, August 3, 2012

All That We Have
by Stephen Dunn, from Local Time 

            to John Jay Osborn, Jr.

It's on ordinary days, isn't it,
     when they happen,
those silent slippages,

a man mowing the lawn, a woman
     reading a magazine,
each thinking it can't go on like this,

then the raking, the turning
     of a page.
The art of letting pass

what must not be spoken, the art
     of tirade, explosion,
are the marital arts, and we

their poor practitioners, are never
     more than apprentices.
At night in bed the day visits us,

happily or otherwise.  In the morning
     the words good morning
have a history of tones; pray to say them

evenly.  It's so easy, those moments
     when affection is what
the hand and voice naturally coordinate.

But it's that little invisible cloud
     in the livingroom,
floating like boredom, it's the odor

of disappointment mixing with
     kitchen smells,
which ask of us all that we have.

The man coming in now
     to the woman.
The woman going out to the man.


[Thanks, Whiskey River!]