There is still part of my heart that hopes
Let it hope, I think, sitting between cynicism and pragmatism.
We all need hope to get us through;
And maybe this hope
Is not unwarranted
Is not hopeless
Is not destined to fail.

Unencumbered by hope, I could be free and light
To rise and fly
Like a bird
Like a leaf
Like a cloud
But equally, I might also sink
Entombed in ice like dirty water
Death within death.

So let it shelter, somewhere between my breastbone and my shoulder blade
In the small house where the future lives

Only time will tell
If that doorway remains empty, more a promise
Than a portal.
However, even if no-one comes through it but my courage
My indomitable will
My recklessly beating heart
Not twinned but lone
That is enough.

It will have to be


Copyright ©2016 Christine Mitchell

Tonight I saw a music video

Tonight I saw
A music video
From the before,
From the end…
Every life has its moments
That define,
That shape
There is a before
And there is an after
And after, everything is changed.
It takes time, but
It is also immediate.
Sometimes there is a sharpness
The cutting edge of glass
Between now
And then

Tonight I saw a music video
From the before
And also from the end
It touched a place in my heart
That hasn’t been liquid
That hasn’t been alive
That hasn’t been available
For years
My calcification sometimes crumbles
To expose these places
And I journey
Quite consciously
To revisit them.
To touch them and see
If they still hurt.
(they do)

Tonight I saw a music video
From the before
That was also the end
And I could see myself sitting
On the other side
Of then
And I wept for myself
For the deaths of innocence that followed
For my current apostasy
From all that I believed to be true.

I tell myself I am stronger now
But perhaps I’m just less flexible.
The silences are rigid
A protective hard casing
I hide behind.

Tonight I saw a music video
And it reminded me of myself.
But I am no longer her.

(Copyright © 2016 Christine Mitchell)


The Lack Of Sense Memory

Today I cleaned out a drawer
His drawer in the basement bathroom
Unused for two years and one month
Blew out and brushed out the dust
Threw away dental floss, toothpaste samples, expired medications
Pushed aside a hairbrush
And found
A bottle of his cologne.
Almost empty
Quite forgotten
Never his favorite,
He wore it to please me
Then left it behind.
Slowly, I lifted out the bottle
Wiped off the dust
And lifted the lid.

No flashbacks
Just nothing.
A smile spread across my face at the realization
And I resolved to buy a candle with the scent
So I can enjoy it again,
Free of associations.

Gregory Orr – How Beautiful The Beloved

This is what was bequeathed us:
This earth the beloved left
And, leaving,
Left to us.

No other world
But this one:
Willows and the river
And the factory
With its black smokestacks.

No other shore, only this bank
On which the living gather.

No meaning but what we find here.
No purpose but what we make.

That, and the beloved’s clear instructions:
Turn me into song; sing me awake.

~ Gregory Orr (How Beautiful the Beloved)


It’s interesting
Not having seen myself through the eyes of dismissal in a while
Rediscovering the faux-concerned face
The wince of denial
The condescending voice and syrupy tone that assured me:
“No, you can’t. You couldn’t possibly. You’re just
Recently, I watched that happen
Recognized it for what it was – a smackdown –
Laughed inside
And denied *them* that power
By saying softly,
Watch me.”

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Here in the place of my youth (2)

Here in the place of my youth
My muscles unknot
Joints easing spine lengthening brow unfolding like a lotus
Years running off me like rainwater –
Brain quicksilver and fertile
Adult teeth dormant, actors waiting in the wings
Feet flashing and chubby legs pumping
Lungs full of bright air
As I run, joyous,
From one kingdom to another
Here the queen
There the jester
Another, the destrier with silken mane and flared nostrils
    who goes, noble, to defeat or victory
Leaping forward and on until the dusk,
That quiet shepherd of my days,
Herds me gently towards home
Under streetlights waking one by one
Along cooling pavement
Past cars, ticking and settling as they shed the day’s exertions
Slower now, feet dragging
Limbs weighted with the beginning of weariness
Watching the blinking dance of fireflies
Smelling the grassy, cooling earth
Hearing other screen doors slam behind their charges
Then quickly, propelled by the warning whine of mosquitos,
I slip through the door and pull it shut
And arrive, a stranger
    with the scent of the wild world still on me
Into this pocket of yellow lamplight
And laughter
And the warm smell of dinner curling
Like a halo
About my head.

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell

Here in the place of my youth (1)

Here in the place of my youth
My roots draw deep
And the earth is dark, and moist, and nourishing
Here I am most myself
Most connected with a lost past
Here I feel my strength
Rising in me like courage
Like joy
Here the wind brings a secret knowledge
And sunlight, instead of burning
Is brilliant hot wine
Warming as wassail
Bracing like brandy
Here, time is an unfinished story
Slowly unfolding its measured loops
Revealing only parts of the whole

Copyright ©2015 C. Mitchell