Uncut Footage 1. He Lets Her In She said her name was Tracy Evidence but I would not believe that. I am called Case, Justin Case. Both of us were burdened with criminal misnomers. Blond as snow her spell dimmed the room. “Now,” she said, “convince me you are blood and bone. Stretch out your tall shape. Brush my face with your eyes.” So I turned my back. Kept silent. Watched a taxi’s slow progress through traffic. “No one’s coming, miss, if that’s why you’re waiting. Your cool face stalls time but clocks keep ticking. Something I learned before you were pulled out of air. You know my name. I’ve heard yours. Why not just commence your tale. Pauses bore me and I might fall asleep. Kiss me back to life then and return your gun. I smell oil. You don’t need to show it off. I’ll do the polite, hear your hints and you can trust my form. I’m no Ken doll® to play with. I’ll tell you if the words burn blue and true. Close those dark eyes. Talk. Now. Go.” 2. She Spells It Out Her hands draw crisp minarets in the air: I pass a fish across the sun. I wait for two days, then wait one. I turn my eyes from what might come And I remember all you’ve done. Now watch me scrape scales off the moon Then listen closely. Hear its tune. The light fades out while white sands bloom And your harvest comes with dark at noon. Now look: her fingers fold to sketch a square: You’ll chase a trail of white lip gloss Over unsettled, suspect sheets. You will not touch the scar you’ve lost Blazing a trail with white lip gloss That drops from her purse. Your careless toss Leads from mirrored walls to empty streets. You’ll chase your tale. The bright lip gloss Is settled. You’ll suspect her sheets. Palm shadows shape a tree, its branches bare: They lean and stretch their lost (slipped?) kisses. Now look— Their skin takes fright and they miss With eye and tongue. What’s at risk Is this morning, as a blue evening Closes, broken. Without cues Songs begin for just those two, Beyond our ears. They hide their bright silence In half notes fenced by a white Sheet. Over that wall, their night. 3. Elsewhere Apostle spoons settle in red velvet. Their case is open. Dust never sleeps. Clocks click, stuck on a minute. A featherweight page sighs, falls back into the leather book. No one is in the is room, so that sunbeam may not exist. A perhaps cat once preened here. Stray hairs give her away. Old smoke— Yesterday’s ghost—hovers. The curtain inflates then drops soft against smudged glass. All the locks are open. This emptiness is at rest. 4. Around A Corner Two eyes, blank as steel, shift loosely as lazy toys from a school carnival. They see nothing. They reflect less. But once, maybe an hour ago, they were alive as water, looking through a mirror to see— What? Here’s a mute witness. Your arrival is empty. Move along. There’s not a chance of recall. Some one came. They peeked, then died.
About the Poet
Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies: Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. He has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Soren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) as well as two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics, (Folded Word). He has written several novels: Knight Prisoner (Vagabondage Press), The Magic War (Loose Leaves Publishing), and A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing, forthcoming). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster where he makes a living showing people pretty things in his city.