The swallowtail coat flares behind him.
It lends seriousness to the weightless air.
He appears like this almost every year—
No one knows why. He drops a list of sins
Behind the altar, then exits the nave.
He will vanish for a full year. Swallows
Circle mission adobe. One follows
The other to honor Saint Joseph’s Day.
I swallow hard, weary of mystery.
The television drones on, preaching war.
It’s hard to pray to the carpenter’s dad.
Those birds have come back home. I should be glad.
I want to find the stranger’s secret door
And take two steps outside of history.
Mark J. Mitchell’s novel, The Magic War appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied at Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work appeared in several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, Joan Juster making his living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter/