A car—hard-parked—quiet as a rumor
that you didn’t hear. Black doors, black windows
and hollow as a bird’s bones. You know more
than you’ll say here, on this naked beach. Holes
open. You escape those headlights that bore
straight through—black as they are. Covered by sand
you forget to breathe. You forget your fear
of an empty car that’s still—that just stands
between you and water. You don’t know why
the ocean matters—why the car should steer
to this place when no one holds the wheel—eyes
without bodies—the headlights, maybe. You
won’t move now. Not today. Blocked by this sly
vehicle. You watch a white sun erase clues.


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. It 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). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and a new novel is forthcoming: The Magic War (Loose Leaves Publishing). 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.


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