All That We Have by Stephen Dunn
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 martial 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 living room,
floating like boredom, it’s the odor
of disappointment mixing with
which ask of us all that we have.
The man coming in now
to the woman
The woman going out to the man