A man and a man is likely to be counted as two men unless one of the men is Mark Doty
talking to the man in a hallway or in a convention center or the foyer to a busy hotel
where Mark Doty is staying
with men and adverbs reserved for men in a formal dining room.
Courteously. Magnificently. And manly
in the proximity of Mark Doty.
The definition of Mark Doty is intently,
like a man with other men attached to his body
talking about him in unison while the man he is talking with listens
and considers mathematics.
Is Mark Doty actually equal to a Mark Doty
or a star falling from the sky?
Is the star actually a satellite or Mark Doty or the sum total of men in a room
just thinking about themselves, the timbre in their voice,
the texture of the air while they’re speaking is a man’s texture,
something with and of and for and about and within and attached to a man talking
that makes me think of Mark Doty,
but that’s only because I met Mark Doty before and thought
that man right there is a man’s man with a man’s deep pockets
and a man’s voice that makes a man man up.

I would like to be friends with Mark Doty. So would every man who meets him.
I met Mark Doty at a reading
and there were men growing like little buds in the breast pocket of everyone in the audience.
There were men growing in awkward bodily regions.
And at the vent ducts there was a kind of Mark Doty sinuousness hiding just inside the vent.

This might explain the feeling I had afterwards. “It’s Mark Doty!”
What is a Mark Doty but a man more than a man making the men inside me
aspire to another man that sometimes I see growing out of my breast pocket,
my shoelaces and maybe some internal organ. But that’s for biology to explain.



An object was drawn first on a piece of paper,
then another piece of paper.
Then arches were drawn. Then the object drew another object on top of it.
It was an envelope. The object wasn’t happy with just an envelope.
The object drew fantasy and oblong. The object got sweaty.
The object was my friend.
I was drawing the object on other pieces of paper,
while the object, how does an object get so lucky, was modeling in Los Angeles.
It was attracting other objects.
The object was getting very specific.
It was being drawn with fingers and leg rolls and ways of sniffing the air.
The object was getting objectified. Totally objectified.
The Los Angeles airports and freeways and objects were not not.
They were objects.
They said, “I am drawing an object.”
It will appear on paper as soon as it arrives.
An object passes other objects in the street. Definitions of lucky are too numerous.


KENT SHAW is the winner of the 2018 Juniper Prize for Poetry for his collection Too Numerous. His first book, Calenture, was published by University of Tampa Press. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Literary Review, and Memorious. He’s an Assistant Professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.