The ending of “Not Without” in Mark Doty’s Deep Lane stretches the word order so that the reader is invited to linger and puzzle over the word order and the linkages between the elements.
Even that. Endless gratitude,
for the thing I would without be no one I know.
It is the absence of commas that intrigues. It reminds me of a passage in Robert Lowell’s “Skunk Hour” where commas and assorted punctuation abound.
And now our fairy
decorator brightens his shop for fall;
his fishnet’s filled with orange cork,
orange, his cobbler’s bench and awl;
there is no money in his work,
he’d rather marry.
It took me a while but that second “orange” finally registered in my brain as a proleptic positioning of the adjective to modify the cobbler’s bench and awl. Marry for money? Marry rather than burn? All we readers are left with is a character without — no money, no marriage, but a nicely decorated shop.
And so for day 1871