That day he gave no tours he saw a book
he’d loved brightly as the forgotten girl
who gave it to him. It was time he looked
through it again. The storm won’t come. Birds swirl
above the park, their anxious calls as black
as words on paper. Stripped trees underline
his memories. Steps lead back to a clock
that will free him from work. The restaurant’s sign
neon crackles like the air, like his skin—
which still knows that girl’s who dropped strange sins,
misplaced commas that ripped each youthful phrase
into broken glass. She enjoyed cutting
his time—the surgeon of his awkward phase.
It’s just a book—a storm—a girl—nothing.
Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. It has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and the Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Søren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) as well as two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics (Folded Word). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and two more novels are forthcoming: A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing) and The Magic War (Loose Leaves). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster, where he makes a living showing people pretty things in his city.