Weekly Poem: ‘Nonessential Equipment’

By Jehanne Dubrow

The dog and I are first among those things
that will not be deployed with him. Forget
civilian clothes as well. He shouldn’t bring
too many photographs, which might get wet,
the faces blurred. He only needs a set
of uniforms. Even his wedding ring
gives pause (what if it fell? — he’d be upset
to dent or scratch away the gold engraving).
The seabag must be light enough to sling
across his shoulder, weigh almost nothing,
each canvas pocket emptied of regret.
The trick is packing less. No wife, no pet,
no perfumed letters dabbed with I-love-yous,
or anything he can’t afford to lose.


Jehanne DubrowJehanne Dubrow is the author of three poetry collections: “The Hardship Post,” “From the Fever-World” and most recently “Stateside,” which is an exploration of the long history of military wives waiting for their husbands to return from war.

Dubrow, who is married to an officer in the U.S. Navy, is an assistant professor in creative writing and literature at Washington College.