May 06, 2007|By Ted Kooser | Ted Kooser,Special to the Sun

One big test of the endurance of any relationship is taking on a joint improvement project. Here Sue Ellen Thompson offers an account of one such trial by fire. - Ted Kooser


My parents argued over wallpaper. Would stripes

make the room look larger? He

would measure, cut, and paste; she'd swipe

the flaws out with her brush. Once it was properly

hung, doubt would set in. Would the floral

have been a better choice? Then it would grow

until she was certain: it had to go. Divorce

terrified me as a child. I didn't know

what led to it, but I had my suspicions.

The stripes came down. Up went

the flowers. Eventually it became my definition

of marriage: bad choices, arguments

whose victors time refused to tell,

but everything done together and done well.

Ted Kooser was U.S. poet laureate from, 2004-06. Copyright 2006 by Sue Ellen Thompson. Reprinted from "The Golden Hour" by permission of the author. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

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