She daubed pricey whisky behind her ears
to lure blind drunks into her tender web.
She meant no harmâ€”she had a lot of years
to fill before she could surprise her death.
She smelled it nowâ€”it was almost as near
as the melody is to its dancer.
Sheâ€™d watch her victimsâ€”only in a mirrorâ€”
Their eyes held loose verbs from books sheâ€™d once read
and read just once. She could forget first names
fast. Everyone who tasted her cool scent
got trapped in the sentence while she explained
their odious tasks. One by one they went
off like taxis looking for a dancer.
Sheâ€™d fall out of bedâ€”dirty, tired, drained.
~ Mark J. Mitchell
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, and his recent chapbooks include â€˜Three Visitorsâ€™ (Negative Capability Press) and â€˜Artifacts and Relicsâ€™(Folded Word). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster.