“I repeat what I said last Sunday”
—Soren Kierkegaard, Repetition
The story never told
concerned shoes that carried
you from place through time
to another time and place
and all the sorrow that came
along with that untamed gift.
First, you’d chase the perfect gift
to repay the giver (you were told
to make good all debts that came
your way quickly. So carried
to Eden, you saw it was the wrong place,
perhaps, but it was the perfect time.
So you’d jump ahead beyond your time
and, distracted, forget the gift
or just decide you couldn’t replace
a pair of shoes that offered untold
adventures. The first journey miscarried.
You leapt again and then came
out in a canyon that became
a grotto and you knew it was time
for a miracle (and one came
but you missed it) dazzled by the gift
of journeys like the ones told
in boys’ stories you can’t quite place
but you heard someplace
before—maybe that blond parrot who came
out of an impossible forest told
them before you placed him back in time.
Or in that tall book, the Christmas gift
that dropped from the bag your grandmother carried—
The one unlike the case your father carried—
the one he grasped so tightly, that you misplaced
when you ran away from the school for gifted
failures. He never knew what became
of it. You never confessed but that one time
you whispered it to the secret nun who told
you what came of sinning. But you got carried
away by these shoes, it’s told. There’s just no place
to hide a gift plucked from the teeth of time.
# # #
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 two more novels are forthcoming: A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing) and The Magic War (Loose Leaves). 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.