“Interrogative Sestina” by Mark J. Mitchell

Who is the bride of August? Where
does she send her lost birds and what
are they born to see? You? They sing. Who,
precisely, are they naming? Just when
will they return to her? Now? And why
did she shatter her glass prison? How?

You see her birds wheel at sunset. How
does she knit their orphic pattern? Where
did they learn alphabet shapes—The Vee? The Y?
They’re lost against violet skies. What
moves them—her pure hands? If not her, then who?

You’ve heard whispers of angels—beings who
unfold maps. They taught her, quickly, how
to read them. Not so long gone, but when
now crashes into ago. She got lost somewhere,
so those same angels built this cell. What
did they use? That glass angels breathe? Why

did she enter it willingly? And, tell us, why
do the angels vanish? When pilgrims come, who
couldn’t see her, what did they seek? What
drew them? She conducts wild birds, but how?
Visitors don’t want to learn. They couldn’t see what
she lost each dawn, each sunrise, when

straight rays blinded her. Later, at moonrise, when
they flew gentle back, crowning her, she’d ask why
they came home. What made them hers to wear
through cool nights, small hearts beating? Who
sent angels? They are always sent. How
does anyone order them? She never asked what

made them choose her. They left. What
they left her was the glass prison. When
her heart grows strong, her soul might see how
angel’s glass could break. She wonders why
she stayed so long. Perhaps someone who
could teach what birds knew would come. What

would she do then? What would be her new why
each daybreak or when the sun dropped? Who
owned this glass home where birds sing? When? How


Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu was published by Encircle Publications.
He is fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist. Joan Juster where he made his living pointing out pretty things. Now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed.
He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. Titles on request.

A primitive web site now exists: https://mark-j-mitchell.square.site/

Photo by USGS on Unsplash

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