Two Poems By Mark J. Mitchell


Beatrice is gone. The poet alone
must rise to God. Bright saints form their flower—
a music he sees. Dante’s no coward
but trembles, suspended by grace. She’s gone.
That’s all he knows. Vergil, too. The strong sun
has passed. The moon’s a memory. No. Here,
God dances time and words—his one power—
Fail Dante. But he must tell what he’s been shown.
Sandro drops the pen. His ninety ninth page
almost naked. Three faint, wrong forms. The hymn
he’s drawing has passed beyond his old hands.
He won’t draw God. His skin, loosened by age,
forbids it. Copper point and ink won’t limn
this miracle. The dark wood—that still stands.


He wore his talent like a t-shirt
and never wasted it on work.
It was something he threw on
without thinking, light as a flirt.
He never let it weigh him down.
Then came the day it got misplaced—
under some thought or it escaped
with laundry. It just wasn’t on.
He didn’t know it’s been erased—
well beyond missing—it was gone.

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. Titles on request. A meager online presence can be found at

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