. . . and you in your welling up
out of sleep said, I have a lake in me, . . .
—Mark Doty, “Deep Lane” (November and this road’s tunnel)
and if you did not already know it,
it would come to you in another language
without tongue, this world too full of beauty
and dismay for it to be otherwise. But still,
here is a man leaning against the dark
leathers of the kind man who ferries him
home, out of all the roads, this one that lifts
“into the wet-yellow lamps of the maples,”
traveled this way, this time, only once, an ache
for the comfort of love so simple he wants
again the clarity of this moment, and what
instead from the deep rises are the words
that almost color the smallest seeing so.
You know this way, this time, only once, is
metaphor for the passages of blood,
what trails behind you and recedes—the camera
drawn back and lifted to the gray-limned sky—
but you are riding forward, leaning into
the curve, your chest pressed against the dark leathers
of love and sorrow—you have a lake in you—
and what unspools behind you is a deep lane of mercy.