Dismantling the House

By Stephen Dunn b. 1939 Stephen Dunn
Rent a flatbed with a winch.
With the right leverage
anything can be hoisted, driven off.

Or the man with a Bobcat comes in,
then the hauler with his enormous truck.
A leveler or a lawyer does the rest;

experts always are willing to help.
The structure was old, rotten in spots.
Hadn't it already begun to implode?

Believe you've just sped the process up.
Photographs, toys, the things that break
your heart—let's trust

they would have been removed,
perhaps are safe with the children
who soon will have children of their own.

It's over. It's time for loss to build
its tower in the yard where you
are merely a spectator now.

Admit you'd like to find something
discarded or damaged, even gone,
and lift it back into the world.

Source: Poetry (February 2003).

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This poem originally appeared in the February 2003 issue of Poetry magazine

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February 2003
 Stephen  Dunn

Biography

Poet Stephen Dunn was born in 1939 in New York City. The first of his family to go to college, Dunn attended Hofstra University on a basketball scholarship and later worked in advertising. In an interview with Poets and Writers, Dunn discussed the leap from being an ad-man to poet: “My first job out of college was writing in-house brochures for Nabisco in New York, and I kept getting promoted. I was in danger, literally, of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Separation & Divorce

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Metaphor

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