(Poetry for Students)

Carol Muske-dukes's poem "Our Side," published in 2003, is about the loss of a lover. Many of the poems in Sparrow, the collection in which this poem appears, are about death. The collection is dedicated to the poet's husband, David Dukes, who died unexpectedly in 2000. In "Our Side," the speaker tries to call back the spirit of someone she has loved and who has died. She wants him to return in some form to "our side," the side of the living. The speaker admits that she understands that this need to see "the lost," those who have died, is one-sided. The living, the speaker says, are the ones who have the need to be remembered. This view is the opposite of the belief and practice of most people, who visit the graves of the dead in attempts to remember them, to memorialize them. Although it is about death and about longing on the part of someone who has lost a lover, "Our Side" is not morbid or melancholic. By the end of the poem, readers are much more aware of the love felt by the speaker than they are of death. The poem is a love song rather than a requiem.