Friday, April 15, 2011

"That Saturday Without a Car" by Stephen Dunn


That Saturday Without a Car

for Ellen Dunn (1910-1969)

Five miles to my mother’s house,
a distance I’d never run.
“I think she’s dead”
my brother said, and hung up

as if with death
language should be mercifully approximate,
should keep the fact
that would forever be fact

at bay. I understood,
and as I ran wondered what words
I might say, and to whom.
I saw myself opening the door—

my brother, both of us, embarrassed
by the sudden intimacy we’d feel.
We had expected it
but we’d expected it every year

for ten: her heart was the best
and worst of her—every kindness
fought its way through damage,
her breasts disappeared

as if the heart itself, for comfort,
had sucked them in.
And I was running better
than I ever had. How different it was

from driving, the way I’d gone
to other deaths—
my body fighting it all off, my heart,
this adequate heart, getting me there.



-from New and Selected Poems 1974-1994 by Stephen Dunn (W.W. Norton, 1994)

1 comment:

Lisa said...

God I love Dunn. Man alive.