After By Stephen Dunn

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  1. Stephen Dunn
  2. Jack and Jill
    at home together after their fall,
  3. the bucket spilled,
    her knees badly scraped,
  4. and Jack with not
    even an aspirin for what's broken.
  5. We can see
    the arduous evenings ahead of them.
  6. And the need
    now to pay a boy to fetch the water.
  7. Our mistake
    was trying to do something together.
  8. Jill sighs.
    Jack says, If you'd have let go for once
  9. you wouldn't
    have come tumbling after.
  10. He's in a
    wheelchair, but she's still an item-
  11. for the rest
    of their existence confined
  12. to a little,
    rhyming story. We tell it to our children,
  13. who laugh,
    already accustomed to disaster.
  14. We'd like
    to teach them the secrets
  15. of knowing
    how to go too far,
  16. but Jack is
    banging with his soup spoon,
  17. Jill is
    pulling her hair out. Out of decency
  18. we turn away,
    as if it were possible to escape
  19. the drift of
    our lives, the fundamental business
  20. of making
    do with what's been left us.
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After By Stephen Dunn
2012-02-03 00:00:51

Feb. 3 Poetry Memorization
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