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"Quicksilver" by Mark J Mitchell

He reads mercury’s writing on his wall—

tight silver letters concealing a name.

Does it mean warning? Does he see a call?

The element’s drips seem trying to fall

in order. His mind says it’s just a stain—

not mercury, not writing. An old wall,

crack-lined. What he sees are the very small

animals glowing in the dark. The same

warning as a red tide that he recalls

from his beachy youth. His running feet—mall

soft—sinking, sparking sand to life. Those tame

readings of Mercury rising. No walls

fenced his star-born desire. When lost squalls

blew from the west then left after a quick rain

warned light in darkness. He heard his first call

then, he knew. He learned the lost name, or all

he wanted to learn—coded, never plain.

He read, Mercury wrote, He built blank walls

as warnings. He’s waiting—now—for your call.

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was published in 2020 by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu  was recently published by Encircle Publications. A new collection, Mirror Games, was released in December 2020 from Cherry Grove.

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