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This week in Ted Kooser's 'American Life in Poetry': 'Pledge'

This week in Ted Kooser's 'American Life in Poetry': 'Pledge'

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Jehanne Dubrow is the wife of a recently retired naval officer and has written very moving poems about their life. This fine love poem is from an as-yet unpublished manuscript. She lives in Texas and has, at quite a young age, already published eight collections of poems. The newest, due out this year, is “Simple Machines,” from University of Evansville Press.


Now we are here at home, in the little nation

of our marriage, swearing allegiance to the table

we set for lunch or the windchime on the porch,

its easy dissonance. Even in our shared country,

the afternoon allots its golden lines

so that we’re seated, both in shadow, on opposite

ends of a couch and two gray dogs between us.

There are acres of opinions in this house.

I make two cups of tea, two bowls of soup,

divide an apple equally. If I were a patriot,

I would call the blanket we spread across our bed

the only flag — some nights we’ve burned it

with our anger at each other. Some nights

we’ve welcomed the weight, a woolen scratch

on both our skins. My love, I am pledging

to this republic, for however long we stand,

I’ll watch with you the rain’s arrival in our yard.

We’ll lift our faces, together, toward the glistening.

Poem copyright 2020 by Jehanne Dubrow, “Pledge” (2020). Poem reprinted by permission of Jehanne Dubrow. Introduction copyright 2020 by The Poetry Foundation.

Omaha World-Herald: Inspired Living

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