Two Poems by Mark J. Mitchell

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        In the round rooms she wears her party dress
        and buckled shoes that sparkle. Above her
        there could be a spire or a turret. The next
        two rooms were often dark and her mother
        haunted them slyly—with whispering dust
        she could never wipe off empty pictures.
        To keep her nice clothes clean, she’d learned to twist
        her body between sheet-covered high chairs
        awkwardly. Her stiff legs and angled arms
        often pushed her against the smoky forms
        that kept all the rooms as formal as dress
        uniforms—straight-backed as toy soldiers—
        Not the round rooms—they were always a mess—
        No, those dark ones, lined up neat as folders.


    Lost names came back. They’re safe in hollow stone—
    Birth names. Married names. Confirmation names.
    Your Granddad—called Cyrus—who slept alone—
    was named—way back—for a lost saint. Hallowed stone
    took note, guarding sacred books—huge tomes—
    leather bound—that kept its holy claim
    on lost names. Now back in their hollow home—
    Names birthed. Names married. The lost, confirmed names.
Mark J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Starting from Tu Fu was just 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.

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