My eyes sting with these relics
The Dante notebook appears on his desk
solid as a slap and cold as his hell.
He means to get back to those pages—next
week or month or year. He could never spell
in Italian and his college handwriting
terrorized every nun who taught him.
Maybe with a cracked toy decoder ring—
that thought conjures up the falling limbs
in the suicide forest. Last night’s dream
was littered with bleeding branches who called
his name. This bright and holy morning light
isn’t helping. The sinfully sad ream
of paper is his punishment. His fall
accelerates—he’s about to take flight.
Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors; Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. He lives with his wife Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.