Mark J. Mitchell
"Ecstasy does not use the same symbol twice."
—Jorge Luis Borges
The temple was ruined last year
after the rains, before the sun
dried the ground. A small tremor near
the river (assumed willed by one
of the gods) felled that wall. A nun
was killed, but the monks all escaped
leaving the sacrifice undone.
Nature is quick here, stones are draped
with new growth, disguising their shapes.
Someday, others will explore here,
they will cut back the vines and scrape
lichen off rocks. Perhaps they'll fear
those who came before. Or they'll sneer
at our gods, knowing they've outdone
The childish things we worshipped here.
Let birds guard it until they come.
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, and Line Drives. His chapbook, Three Visitors will be published by Negative Capability Press later this year and his novels, The Magic War and Knight Prisoner will be published in the coming months. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster.