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The Poetry of Caregiving

though we tried to keep as separate as possible while working. My study was in the northwest corner of the house, hers was on the second floor in the northeast corner. She'd work on poems first thing, or her translations of Anna Akhmatova's poetry. I'd write freelance pieces for magazines and other essays in the morning and poetry in the afternoon." They would meet for lunch and a nap in the middle of the day. "It was a folie a deux," Hall says.

In The Best Day, The Worst Day—which is subtitled Life with Jane Kenyon—Hall wrote: "Three hundred and thirty days a year, we inhabited this old house and the same day's adventurous routine. What we did: love."

After Kenyon's death, Hall became very aware of the days passing; each new thing done alone felt like another blow. "In the first year, I'd catch a glimpse of her somewhere. Then that changes. The magical thinking ends. For the most part, . . . since she died, I've done all the same things we used to do together."

Kenyon's study, which remains as she left it, still contains manuscripts and unpublished materials that Hall has yet to go through. "I wonder what she'd write about . . . ," he begins, and leaves the end of the thought dangling.

One of the most difficult times for Hall was when some of Kenyon's papers were taken to the University of New Hampshire Library. "It was as if the body were being taken away again," he says. In most regards, however, the house is the way it was when the two lived there together. In fact, Hall continues, 13 years later, to find things that were Kenyon's—a box of

Hall dictates his correspondence, has it typed, then adds notes by hand. Below are more vignettes from around the house—a cat curled up on the living room rug; the pantry; portraits of Hall's ancestors; a 1910 Glenwood stove in the kitchen (the sole source of heat when they moved there in 1976); and a teddy bear in Kenyon's study.

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