Mark J. Mitchell
Photo by samantha woodford on Unsplash


Wind drizzles
empty hooks
against a flagpole:
on a high hat.

Two streets
away, one
old car squeals
to a stop: Ebony
clarinet song.

Your own
heartbeat holds
the bottom
while breath
bestows the backbeat

Crossing a street
the melody—your
foot kicks
something on
a storm drain:

One perfect,


Close the box now. Your breathless fear
is enough to crumble snapshots.
Don’t sort through them. Today is not
the time for last names or lost years.

This terrible fragility
fixes your eyes on small faces,
misplaced in mutability,
in distance. Let time erase this.

You need to absolve time itself—
Now. It’s about to swallow you.
Dust’s our end. Nothing allows you
to hide treasures on some back shelf.

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu was recently published by Encircle Publications. A new collection is due out in December from Cherry Grove. He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. Titles on request. A meager online presence can be found at

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