Soren Kierkegaard was Dead by Age Forty Two – a poem by Mark J. Mitchell

                        As a tragic hero it is impossible for him to remain silent.
                                                                                    --Soren Kierkegaard
                        Prompt as a northern clock and just as stiff,
                        he appears at midnight. The glass is laid out—
                        your fantasy ritual will play out
                        as it has for decades. Life must be lived
                        forward, he always said. He had a gift
                        for the pithy. You’re surprised he looks so young—
                        now you’re years past him. He hadn’t begun
                        to go gray when he died. Just play your game:
                        Welcome his smoky ghost, pretend he’s tame
                        as the cool wine. If he speaks, you’ll be stunned.
                        He sits still, considers himself unknown,
                         coughing his throat clear. “Has it been a year?
                        You look the same. My father—his old bones
                        so long gone even my heart’s bleached out fear
                        of him.” You want to warn him not to say
                        what you know he will say. “Come Easter day”
                        he goes on (sparing you the tender wound
                        you’re ready for) “Something has to rise—
                        but not me. Close your pilgrim weary eyes.
                        Let my love affair with God light your room.”

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu  was recently 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. 

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