Ghazal Of His Personal Demon by Mark J. Mitchell

…and it was a serious game
—André Masson
Painting is a War

She’s eternally breaking the same heart
loving the salty flavor of his maimed heart.

As a girl, she would never play chess—
Let boys toy with war, she played hearts.

He would wake up to her bright red mouth,
touch his stitches and hear his replaced heart.

Her walks through the park became legend—
Her hands full of leashed, perfectly tame hearts.

She breakfasted the same each blond morning:
Coffee black and dry buttered toast with paté of plain hearts.

Of course she loved him—the way a cat
loves her catnip mouse—she hunted her game—hearts.

Each time he tried to leave he washed back like tides.
Her moon had marked his sorry and stained heart.

Mark J. Mitchell
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 a new novel is forthcoming: The Magic War (Loose Leaves Publishing). 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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