A Test

By Mark J. Mitchell

If, on a winter night,
You entered a dim room
Where moonlight shone
On a black piano—

If the cold night
Were silent and streetlights
Had clicked softly off—

If the bones in your fingers
Were hard and stiff
And your knuckles locked—

If you thought a child
Might be sleeping
Behind a heavy door—

If gold liquid glowed
In a stemmed glass and
One flower drooped in a vase
As if staring at its reflection—

If you’d forgotten
Everything you’d ever known
About music but
Could pick out middle C—


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. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the film maker Joan Juster. Currently he's seeking gainful employment since poets are born and not paid.

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