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Irene Mitchell

The Less Lonely Perimeter


The Less Lonely Perimeter

The colder the night, the faster
I run past lamplight’s curtain,
pace the only constant, the only race
my own against day’s dawning.

The quiet is deeper at daybreak,
more cavernous.
Sky an abrupt, early white.

In the awaking dawn, a missionary
appears who I am pleased to meet
for our discussion is overdue.

We do not get dreamy or digress
as we exchange discoveries.
Our speech is without twists or tangles,
our bodies light
as a hammock slung beneath two poplars.

By and by our conversation reveals
that the cavern has a trap door
and lingo can go
only so far. 

I have heard that contemplation
of the elsewhere
may fend off the darks and damps
of lingering loneliness, unveiling all the beauty
poured out for us each day.

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The snow has seemingly settled
to a state of lifelong lingering.
I would travel away even by scurvy boat
to the rainforest, so humid
that drops fall all day
down broad leaves,
tremulous and shining.

That would be my repair
unless there I should meet a jaguar.
It is fair to suppose I might.

However, I am here and have options,
preferring light entertainment
such as organizing the rubble
of my room.
Finding promises lying within,
I feel mighty.
I am going to scour the floor
and part the curtains.

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Irene Mitchell is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Clerestory (Dos Madres Press, 2020). Formerly poetry editor of Hudson River Art Magazine, and a long time teacher of  English and Writing in inner city and rural New York, Mitchell is known for her collaborations with visual artists and composers.  She was a 2019 Associate Artist in Residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

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