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Nancy Mitchell

She snaps open the card
table legs,  flips it
upright on the new patio
all summer he’d sand set
into herringbone,
tiered edge for just
this red asterisked night.
Yet, already bricks
have begun to shift
the chairs wobble,
champagne bubbles list,
fizzing precariously
near lead crystal lips
of wedding flutes.
They drink too much,
then more trying to even
it up, then reel off to bed,
more seasick than drunk.

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orange sunrise until the day she said baby,
ah, I think I want.

He kissed her hand then began
in stages to delay:

after the essay on Hemingway
was finished, any day now,

and then, when, fingers crossed,
a publisher came through,

don’t forget the lecture, not
yet written, on

the connection between the mall
and the middle ages

for the summer conference in Prague,
and of course the iron

rail for the patio he’d have to
learn black smithing

to do, his design so wrought
in calligraphy and curlicued.



They walk to dinner
giddy with relief: fire
not brushing the hills, so
far, no snake noir
tongue lapping the pool.
She takes his hand
blots her lipstick,
and into his heart
line whispers Mistook my own
sniffles for a peeping Tom’s
window-side whistle,
and clamping her mouth
he replies: All morning long
what I thought was fog
was plastic tacked
to the bedroom window.
All over his hand, red.

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About the Poet

Nancy Mitchell is the author of THE NEAR SURROUND, Four Way Books, 2002. Her work has been published in such journals as Agni, The Marlboro Review, Salt Hill Journal, Poetry Daily, among others, and is anthologized in Last Call published by Sarabande Books.

She has received fellowships at VCCA in San Angelo, Virginia and Le Moulin a Nef, Auvillar, Gascony, France, as well as an Artist in the Schools grant for Arlington County Schools.  She is a guest lecturer for Delmarva Discussions throughout the Delmarva Peninsula.

A professor in the English Department at Salisbury University, Maryland, Mitchell teaches Creative Writing, Poetry Workshops, and courses on the Creative Process in the Honors Program.   She has acted as an essay director for graduate students in Poetry in the Stonecoast MFA Program in Maine.

She lives in Salisbury, Maryland.