Long Term Unemployment

Mark J. Mitchell

After her failure as unicorn bait
she folded compass roses for lost maps.
Flat captains dropped them through their sailor’s caps.
They sank and opened like abandoned freight.
Next came a quick attempt to rescue moons
from night’s backdrop — she only slept through that.
She tried to polish used apostle spoons
until they cracked her tiny hands. White cats
began to circle her, counter-clockwise.
She couldn’t count them all, but her pale fears
were blooming. Cool palms slapped against her thighs.
Her lips moved. Words slipped past criminal ears.
They tickled. She sat still, too tired to try.
Eons became days, hours became years.

MARK J. MITCHELL studied writing at UC Santa Cruz. His work has appeared in many periodicals as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, and Line Drives. His chapbook, Three Visitors, is available from Negative Capability Press; his novel, Knight Prisoner, was just published by Vagabondage Press. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian Joan Juster.

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