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This Is My Plan
Devon Miller-Duggan


In the normal course of things, you’ll die
before I die, older than I
and male, and therefore burning up your life
faster than my woman’s body can
no matter how I’d wish
this body could vanish without you to hold it here.
Chances are we won’t go down in flames
from skies between the place we live
and anywhere we go to look at paintings
showing other pairs—John and Salomé,
Danae and her lap of coins,
Apollo and Daphne, Adam and God, Adam and Eve,
Eve and the snake, old and affectionate Dutch couples.
And chances are we won’t fall off some bridge
together, having done our falling years ago.

These are the things I’ll never do again:
I won’t eat lobster, sing the hymn called Hyferdol,
see the ballet company we saw on our first date,
ride a German train, choose a man’s tie, drink English Breakfast tea.
I will not trim the beard and hair of any other man.
I’ll burn the clothes of mine you liked, and
all the cards we played Gin Rummy with.
I swear, I will not harm myself, will not
fill my eyes with ashes, or steal dirt from your grave
to stop my ears, will not cut my skin
to let the howling out. I will not die.

What I will do, I think, is find someone to love
so all I learned of love with you
won’t choke itself, or me.

From Pinning the Bird to the Wall (Tres Chicas Books, 2008).
Used with the author’s permission.


Devon Miller-Duggan teaches in the English Department of the University of Delaware, is married to an historian, and has two grown daughters and one splendid grandson. She is the author of Pinning the Bird to the Wall, published in  2008 by Tres Chicas Books.

Post New Comment:
When I heard the poet read this poem, I wanted to weep. I wanted to write a tribute like this to my husband. Still one of my favorite poems. A wonderful choice!
Posted 02/10/2011 10:33 AM
Wow, a great romantic poem. A classic. It struck many strings in my harp shaped heart! Even from the male perspective. I wish all couples could have such devotion.
Posted 02/04/2011 01:07 AM
The beauty of this makes me cry.
Posted 02/03/2011 06:08 PM
What a beautiful love poem. Yes!
Posted 02/03/2011 04:52 PM
Devon, What a beautiful and wise poem! I know exactly what you mean, having spent the last 32 years with my best friend, lover, guru and the most amazing man under the (my) sun. Since I was married before, for a relatively short, painful and most difficult time of my life, I think I would change only one small thing in the last line. For my personal ending I would say, "What I will do, I think, is find a good dog to love......." As I know in my soul that if I lose the best part of my life, I only want to share the love in my heart with a great canine companion.
Posted 02/03/2011 03:13 PM
Joan L. Cannon:
So true that as long as the body survives, so will its passion. These words express the knowledge so well and so truly. But unless the separation comes while the one left behind still has enormous reserves of life, I can attest to the unlikelihood that one can find a means of passing on the knowledge gained from a profound relationship. What a perfect ending that says what my husband repeated so many times to me. After 57 years together, I don't have the strength, I know, to do as he asked. I love the idea as put forth in this wonderful poem, though.
Posted 02/03/2011 09:43 AM
Linda Lee (Konichek):
What a wonderful poem about a strong woman who knows that love never dies; I'm grateful for the enrichment and insight it has added to my life. Poets are all about love, compassion and caring, and I am grateful for all the connections among us. Beautiful, beautiful image and wisdom at the end.
Posted 02/03/2011 09:24 AM
Such a powerful piece. I can relate since I have been married to the same person for 40 years and can't imagine life without my "him." I would "burn the the clothes of mine" he liked and the cards as well. I get it. Thanks.
Posted 02/03/2011 07:56 AM
a wise and poignant ending to a beautiful poem...
Posted 02/03/2011 06:40 AM

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