OffCourse Literary Journal

Three Poems, by Martin Mitchell.



The spider has already come.
This silence drew it here.
It prefers silence; it seeks out silence.

The spider makes no distinction between
calm quiet and shocked, uneasy stillness.

The spider works soundlessly,
in honor of the silence it usurps.

You do not answer. You created
this charged and fractured void.

You allowed the spider.

The spider does distinguish between old
silence and new. It has no use for freshly
created quiet. New quiet may not be safe quiet.

The spider has been busy in your silence.
It has crafted its intricate web in the space
you created, the space you left.

The certain spider waits in the corner of its web,
master of its creation. I twist, entangled in emptiness.



The Cusp

In our moment at the eye of the needle, you hand me
the apple, to bite first, now,
before it bursts from its own significance;
to bite, now, as if all of history hinged
upon the act. And it does.

It does,
for if I were to somehow deny you now, the universe
would unravel, completely, behind us,
and make every legend a lie.
So, there is no choice.

But if I can finally smash this broken
cup, then I can — we can — abolish this space
between us. We can use the bonfire that marks this
crossroads in time, use it to burn away the need for
forgiveness, for each having ever existed
apart from the other.

And we can love, not with the finite fuse of a prolonged
exhale, not with the inescapable desperation of any
mortal, temporal edict. We can love until not even we
can determine what is ours,
and what simply is. We can love as if
the entire future hinges on it. And it does.

It does.
We must go then, together, and rename everything.



So here I find myself, alone with this collection of parts.
I am left with unrealized intentions, promises designed but not
delivered, unbaked creations of clay
They remain intangible, frozen in mid-air,
out of focus and incomplete; now forever.
But I mourn alone.

I have suffered, and though never more than I could bear, I resent being
dragged all the way to that farthest fence again.
I already believed in it.

But I have been dragged again, to that distant edge, to collect a
reminder that I did not want, and did not need - a reminder that now
becomes the package in which I must keep my memories
of you, and of the two of us, as they hang suspended,
not complete but finished.

I have considered this:
these memories might be rendered useful by sweeping them
into a pile, and setting fire to them, for a brief taste of the warmth
that I craved from you.

But even that perspective undermines itself; the purging flames,
however brief, would illuminate the act of acknowledging your
existence once more.


Martin Mitchell lives and writes (and reads) near Dallas, Texas. His work has appeared in numerous anthologies since 1986. His poetry has most recently appeared in Toasted Cheese, Branches Quarterly and Facets Magazine.


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