Church – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell


No church could seal her soul. At night her faults
came out to play. Ignorant solace chased
her through frozen stone columns. Sudden vaults
might sprout on hills. Moonlight left her no place
for your mask. Praying to turn into salt,
she’d stop—quite still—then listen for dead chants
that cling, like condensed tears, to ancient walls.
She’d pick words without meanings while cracked saints
smiled down. Then sigh, turn over now, away
from homilies and songs. Soon God could speak
in her upturned ear. The silk voice would play
her untrained soul and she’d know just how weak
words were. She’d perch on sleep’s edge for a chance
to listen longer. Stars gave birth to day.


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 makes his meager living pointing out pretty things. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. A meager online presence can be found at



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