Peter Mitchell – Three Poems

Three poems by Peter Mitchell

Could I borrow the car?

I am a boy-on-a-mission. I climb the stairs to his office.
He’s having lunch in Maitland Park. Forehead knotted.

I ride the motor to the park. Our family car noses the gutter.
My dad’s in the driver’s seat, another man in the passenger seat.

Infrared heat radiates the car. I’ll talk to you tonight.
His hair is dishevelled. I ride away. The rippling air prickles my skin.


February 85. Another clinic visit. Same
old, same old
a tiny lump appears
in my left cheek.

After the consultation, I meet Ted
in Oxford Street.
How’s your health? I ask.
The doctor’s prescribed interferon and it’s working.
There’s a sixty per cent chance
of success.

 It’s early May.
The doctor smiles.
The tiny lump resolves.
You’re today’s healthy patient.

Ted’s obit
is in the
Sydney Star Observer.

Sight Lines

The ping-pong of first impressions starts it. The surfer desires
the flick of silken hair, the night-dark eyes; the composer

craves the sinew of shoulder, the muscle of an upper
arm. These illuminations alchemise into keepsakes.

After a year, their synergy morphs to love. For two more
years, they sleep in the ancient way: close, arms

and legs entwined; the rhythms of drowse
& dream, now shallow now vast.

On their third anniversary, career carries the composer
to Boston. In seat 3A, winging through an ocean of sky,

his head rests, his eyes are closed. Behind them is the beach
where they met, his love’s broad chest coming towards

him. Below him offshore from their meeting place, his lover
sits on a long board and his arms conduct the air. He looks

up, the plane now a hyphen, the ocean’s swell his back-
ground. Eyes closed, recollections on the way-back

machine to that night, his lover’s black-
haired swish like a conductor’s flourish.

These memories of love arouse the sky as infrared
ardor: resonant, heart garlands, nightly harvest.

But what language do they carry to the ear, the eye?
Music fades; water becomes savage; syllables are

shattered. These sight-lines of love are as insignificant as
a mosquito’s death, a vivid life finished, on an open palm.



Peter Mitchell’s poetry has been published in Eureka Street, Eucalypt: a tanka journal, Landscapes, New England Review, Windfall: Australian haiku, Verity la, among other series. Peter is the author of the poetry chapbook, The Scarlet Moment (Picaro Press, 2009).

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