Everyone on the inbound bus
thinks their small secrets are safe but
the thin man, three seats from the back,
he sees them all, he knows them all.
That woman—with the gray, askew
face she forgot her lipstick,
but knows it is on the counter,
smiles, knows his wife will find it soon.
And the man in the blue suit and joke
tie—he misplaced his faith—just
last night. He’s sure it will come back,
so he shakes his sure Chronicle.
A mother looks at her short son—
neat in his uniform sweater—bites
back the iron taste in her mouth.
Children should not know their parents.
Watching, he is careful never to take
notes. He won’t draw pictures. That’s
against his rules. It is enough to know
that no one knows the things he knows.
In my mouth I taste sacrilege —Sylvia Grénier Salome
When you look
the world seems dusty
and fingerprints mar
the spout on your white
teapot. Smoke kisses
your eyelids while
you watch bus after bus
hiss by like seconds
and the day seems shot,
veined with thin cracks
like that antique mirror
you see through
It’s simple to forget morning
already absent from rear-view mirrors.
Afternoons have no voice,
unless baseball is played below the sun.
A littered table is all that’s left
this evening—names escape lightly
as butterflies. Dreams are scattered
like pennies from a child’s broken bank.
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 the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.