top of page

December 2, 2022


Linz, Austria-Hungary, 1913


He smelled coffee and the new dance

he carried—fresh ink’s nice. He’d chanced

on it at Gottlieb’s. That grand show,

still young to him. The waltzes glowed

with youth—romantic but advanced.


She loved this time signature. Each waltz

graced her playing—pretty, with faults,

like her. He moved the dusty sheet

music—Wagner—then took a seat

on her old bench. Played it, with halts


at first, watching the key. Then dance

lifted breath—the three-quarter lance

to free his wounded heart. When they’d last

played, her fingers were weak, lacked force.

Beside her, he’d cried himself hoarse.


Now he blows across his flute, tasting salt

and joy. She’d kiss the pretty dance.

He wished they’d shared this shiny waltz.

© the author

by Mark J. Mitchell

Mark J. Mitchell studied writing and medieval literature at the University of California at Santa Cruz with Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock, Barbara Hull and Robert M. Durling. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, is available from Norfolk Publishing. A new collection, Something to Be, and a novel are forthcoming. His first chapbook won the Negative Capability Award. Mark’s poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, J Journal, kayak, Blue Unicorn, Black Bough, Santa Barbara Review, Pearl, Lilliput Review, Runes, Buddhist Poetry Review, Plainsongs, Snakeskin, Matchbook Poetry, HeyDay Magazine, Indigo Rising, Mas Tequila, The Lyric, and Poem. He is fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. 

bottom of page