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About this Poem 

“Often we don’t seem to know when something new—maybe something major—is beginning. ‘Falling in love’ is, in truth, a recognition of something that’s already happened; when you know you’re in love, you’ve already arrived there. But can you ever tell when you’re just on the brink of something exhilarating, disruptive, lovely?”

—Mark Doty

Verge

Mark Doty, 1953

A month at least before the bloom
and already five bare-limbed cherries
by the highway ringed in a haze
of incipient fire
                      —middle of the afternoon,
a faint pink-bronze glow. Some things
wear their becoming:
                                the night we walked,
nearly strangers, from a fevered party
to the corner where you’d left your motorcycle,
afraid some rough wind might knock it to the curb,
you stood on the other side
of the upright machine, other side
of what would be us, and tilted your head
toward me over the wet leather seat
while you strapped your helmet on,
engineer boots firm on the black pavement.

Did we guess we’d taken the party’s fire with us,
somewhere behind us that dim apartment
cooling around its core like a stone?
Can you know, when you’re not even a bud
but a possibility poised at some brink?

Of course we couldn’t see ourselves,
though love’s the template and rehearsal
of all being, something coming to happen
where nothing was…
                                    But just now
I thought of a troubled corona of new color,
visible echo, and wondered if anyone
driving in the departing gust and spatter
on Seventh Avenue might have seen
the cloud breathed out around us
as if we were a pair
of—could it be?—soon-to-flower trees.

Copyright @ 2014 by Mark Doty. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on June 2, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Mark Doty. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on June 2, 2014.

Mark Doty

Mark Doty

Mark Doty is the author of several collections of poetry, including Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems, which received the 2008 National Book Award.

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Not, exactly, green:
closer to bronze
preserved in kind brine,

something retrieved
from a Greco-Roman wreck,
patinated and oddly

muscular. We cannot
know what his fantastic
legs were like—

though evidence
suggests eight
complexly folded

scuttling works
of armament, crowned
by the foreclaws'

gesture of