Hobble Creek Review
The Mutability of Tales
The story is very simple:
A boy, a girl, a disaster
Or two. An occasional kiss.
Or more. Swordplay and battle.
Perhaps a sea voyage before
The boy and girl live and learn.
In the French version
Characters would suffer more.
It would be funnier but
Haunted by tragedy.
Of course, everyone would fail
To learn anything at all.
Etched in a Bottle
The door is fresh planed, blond wood. It makes you
Smart to look at it, it’s so new. The house
Feels empty, musty, as if all its nouns
Had fled: teakettle, son, desk, rocker, flue.
All evidence has been stripped from this place
And the mystery forgotten. Pale dust
Coats everything. Bright squares where pictures must
Have hung tell you that something’s been erased.
A black bottle, derelict by the door
Holds these words as its label and it says
Something you can’t read, words you can’t know
(Unless you could grab the courage to go
Through the blond door). Examine the dark glass
Then smash the bottle. There’s nothing to pour.
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, will be
published by Negative Capability Press later this year 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 film maker Joan Juster. Currently he's
seeking gainful employment since poets are born and not paid.