The Embrace

Mark Doty

 
You weren't well or really ill yet either;
just a little tired, your handsomeness
tinged by grief or anticipation, which brought
to your face a thoughtful, deepening grace.
I didn't for a moment doubt you were dead.
I knew that to be true still, even in the dream.
You'd been out--at work maybe?--
having a good day, almost energetic.
We seemed to be moving from some old house
where we'd lived, boxes everywhere, things
in disarray: that was the story of my dream,
but even asleep I was shocked out of the narrative
by your face, the physical fact of your face:
inches from mine, smooth-shaven, loving, alert.
Why so difficult, remembering the actual look
of you? Without a photograph, without strain?
So when I saw your unguarded, reliable face,
your unmistakable gaze opening all the warmth
and clarity of you--warm brown tea--we held
each other for the time the dream allowed.
Bless you. You came back, so I could see you
once more, plainly, so I could rest against you
without thinking this happiness lessened anything,
without thinking you were alive again.
 
From Sweet Machine, published by HarperCollins. Copyright © 1998 by Mark Doty. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Poems by This Author

A Green Crab's Shell by Mark Doty
Not, exactly, green:
At the Gym by Mark Doty
This salt-stain spot
Brian, Age 7 by Mark Doty
Broadway by Mark Doty
Under Grand Central's tattered vault
Couture by Mark Doty
Peony silks
Deep Lane by Mark Doty
Heaven for Helen by Mark Doty
Helen says heaven, for her
Heaven for Stanley by Mark Doty
For his birthday, I gave Stanley a hyacinth bean
Letter to God by Mark Doty
Paul's Tattoo by Mark Doty
Robert Harms Paints the Surface
of Little Fresh Pond
by Mark Doty
Surface the action of the day
Signal by Mark Doty
Spent by Mark Doty
Late August morning I go out to cut


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