The 2River View 17.4 (Summer 2013)

Katherine Mitchell

The Evening of the Last Calm 

The man works quickly, 
repairs the blue jay’s wing,
ties three knots with blue thread.

He remembers pulling weeds,
killing spiders.
He is now happy for any living thing.

Lying on the living room floor,
he imagines stars overhead 
and leaves falling
curled like paper catching fire,
imagines multiple pairs of steps
scattering the hunched leaves,
multiple sticks sharpened 
for roasting marsh mellows.

He remembers singing nude
under a chandelier of running water
and robed with a choir,  
voices a scaffold to the nave,
the ceiling vaulted 
inside his mouth.

When he walks to the lake for water,
algae covers its surface
like clouds. He assigns identities—
sea horse, beard, wheelbarrow.

He holds the pan level 
on his way back to the house,
avoids open fields,
though he has seen no one.

He ties a flashlight
over the card table,
inverts the lid of a sugar bowl,
adds water with a tattooed spoon. 
The blue jay rests like a scar 
on his open hand.

Katherine Mitchell holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Missouri—Saint Louis. She works professionally as an Alexander Technique teacher and teaches Argentine Tango at Washington University in St. Louis with her husband, Michael. contact