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A Romance

by Stephen Dunn

He called eel grass
what she called seaweed.
He insulated their house with it.
She was interested in
the transparence of her skin.
He walled the bathroom
with barn-siding, he built the couch
with wood he had chopped.
She, a friend once said,
was a calligrapher of the dark.
He dug a root cellar
to store vegetables. He built a shack
for his ducks. Once, while asleep,
he said “the half-shut eye of the moon”.
She spoke about the possible
precision of doubt.
He knew when the wind changed
what weather it would bring.

She baked bread, made jam
from sugar berries, kept a notebook
with what she called
little collections of her breath.
He said the angle the nail goes in
is crucial.
She fed the ducks, called them
her sentient beings.
She wondered how one becomes
a casualty of desire.
He said a tin roof in summer
sends back the sun’s heat.
She made wine from dandelions.
She once wrote in her notebook
“the ordinary loveliness of this world”.
He built a bookcase
for her books.
They took long walks.


Stephen Dunn’s Looking for Holes in the Ceiling was published by the University of Massachusetts Press and sold out the first edition. His second collecton, Transitions, is ready for publication. (Spring 1975)

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