Long Term

Dunn, Stephen

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita
  • Date of entry: Dec-17-1996


This poem is one of several by Stephen Dunn in which the dynamics of married life are examined. The speaker begins by saying that in marriage "anything that can happen between two people" eventually will, including things that cause incredible hurt and pain. The couple portrayed in the poem stays together through tacit agreement; whatever the hurtful event, neither refers to it. Instead, conversation centers on harmless subjects such as the garden, work, and little aches. While living together in the same house, the couple remains separate because forgiveness is not forthcoming for the spouse who trespassed.


Here we have a domestic chill, one that is related with extraordinary understanding of relationships between men and women. See also After the Argument and He/She by Dunn, annotated in this database.

Primary Source

Local Time


William Morrow: Quill

Place Published

New York