Acres of Opinions

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 fla
g—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.
~Jehanne Dubrow from “Pledge”

photo by Bette Vander Haak

Whether it is a beloved country, or a devoted marriage, there is need for loyalty to last through the difficult times and the imperfections.

We pledge allegiance to the republic of one another among acres of opinions: our differences in how we see the world contrast with our shared goals and dreams. Our stubborn persistence to stay intact is threatened by our fragile weaknesses that can easily break us asunder.

So we stand united, no matter the dissonance and the disagreements, drenched with the responsibility and accountability to make this union work, no matter what, for as long as we shall live, and much much beyond.

May we glisten with the pledge of allegiance:
we can only accomplish this together.

6 thoughts on “Acres of Opinions

  1. Dear Emily, Imagine my amazement when I read the poem and then the name of the author. My husband Steve and I went to Brown University (decades ago) with Jehanne’s father, Stephen Dubrow. Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, Emily. Thanks so much for posting my poem. It’s gratifying to write something that others appreciate. I did want to ask, though, that you post the full poem. You cut the most important line from the piece, editing out the moment in the text that adds complication and discomfort, not only to the notion of what a marriage is but also to ideas about allegiance: “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.” I understand why the assertion, “some nights we’ve burned it,” might make certain readers uncomfortable, but that’s the point. Just as with nations, so too with relationships do we often feel conflict about what we have pledged ourselves to; the poem is as much of a critique of this country as it is an examination of a marriage.
    All best wishes,
    Jehanne

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  3. Hi Jehanne, I have restored the missing line and understand completely its importance but I left it out not because I feared it would make some of my readers uncomfortable, which it would, especially on July 4, but because it does not speak to my own experience as my husband and I have never taken that kind of anger to bed with us. The conflict inherent in any marriage is there without the line included, but you are right, you express unequivocal anger giving way to a loyal allegiance as described in the line. It is a brilliant poem and I’m grateful I’ve never been at the “burn it to the ground” stage as my divorced parents were. Perhaps that is why I felt discomfort with your poem, just as you intended. Very grateful for your writing to me, Emily from Barnstorming

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