My sleepless neighborPaces while I count his steps.
Sky is washed by mist.A siren sets off a dog.
Brakes scream, horns bleat. I’m waitingFor damp notes from a foghorn.
White and black keysDictate melodic tyranny:
Each note tickles an echoFrom a matching bone.
Brittle strings snap underGentle pressure from felt hammers.
Somewhere a star is blinking out.Someone isn’t getting kissed.
There is no singing, just the thudOf a pedal connected to nothing.
My clothes creak
Like the Tin Man's jaw.
Heels click on bricks
Washed yellow by the porchlight.
I think she's home, inside.
I brave the doorknob.
Yes, there she waits:
The great and powerful.
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, and Line Drives. His chapbook, Three Visitors has recently been published by Negative Capability Press. Artifacts and Relics, another chapbook, is forthcoming from Folded Word and his novels, The Magic War and Knight Prisoner will be published in the coming months. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster.