A SESTINA IN A HALLWAY

A SESTINA IN A HALLWAY
Mark J. Mitchell
 
I’ve got the bag, take these keys
And empty all the change
Out of your pockets. Leave it here
On the nightstand. You won’t
Need it. Leave the book, you’ll never
Finish it. Ready? Let’s go.
 
It doesn’t matter much when we go
But leaving is the key
To the whole mess. You’ll never
Be able to make this change
If you stay. You know you won’t.
Besides, what are you leaving here?
 
Old books, a bed, a man who hears
Voices telling him not to let you go?
You’re leaving nothing. Take the keys,
Lock the door behind you and don’t
Even pretend that you can change
Anything here. Most people never
 
Learn. Come on, let’s get moving or you’ll never
Get out of this house, Look, here,
See, the door’s locked. Besides, he’ll change
Locks once you’re out. Three days ago
He went out so see someone. He took all his keys.
Someone’s leaving here. He will if you won’t.
 
I can wait as long as you. I won’t
Let you stay here. You’re my sister. I’d never
Leave you alone. Please, just take my house keys.
We’ve got a bed for you. You can come back here
Later if you want, but right now let’s go.
Leave your ring behind. That’s fair exchange.
 
He can hock it and you’ll feel the change
Right there on your hand. You know he won’t
Starve on his own. He has somewhere to go.
Hell, he’s already there. He may never
Drag his sorry carcass all the way back here.
I’m sorry. He’s fine. I didn’t mean it. Turn the key
 
And everything will change. He’ll never
Find you. No, he won’t. Take my hankie, here,
Blow. Please, let’s just go. I’m begging. Turn that key.

©2012 This work is the property of the author.

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Posted on September 15, 2012, in Mark J. Mitchell, POETRY and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. MM welcomes Mark J. Mitchell. He’s sent in three poems. I was struck by the mixture of urgency for change and pathos of this first piece.

  2. An empathetic and heavily drawn search for an arrangement of keys to open a search for survival, combing and combining wit and pathos, charm and a disarmed self deprivation
    in the rough spurs of an acid confessional poem, Mark holds out as long as he is able
    against all the odds without a crass sentimentality, insoluble anger or hand-outs of emotion but sheltered by the defense of language by human failings in everlasting arms of love holding out for the keys to the living kingdom.

  3. love this one.. the flow is perfect..I found myself wishing along and being anxious for them to leave.. really drew me in

  4. Allie Marini Batts

    Sestinas are crazy hard to write, and even harder to write well….hats off to you, sir! I love the way you bring a sense of modern aesthetic to a very strict poetic form. The end envoi is brilliant.

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