Her baby cried like an opera star
so the bus stayed half-empty. Cars slid past.
She didn’t see them. Adjusting the starred
straps on a thrift-shop backpack as they passed
construction sites, she shifted her wild child
along plastic seats then unpacked loose piles
of books and cigarettes balanced on top
of a flat sandwich. She stretched. Pulled the cord.
Threw things back as the bell rang, looking bored.
Hopped off. No one noticed the crying stopped.
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, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. It has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Soren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) as well as two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics, (Folded Word). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and two more novels are forthcoming: A Book of Lost Songs (Wild Child Publishing) and The Magic War (Loose Leaves). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster where he makes a living showing people pretty things in his city.
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