Image by Olena Sergienko


the madrigal, volume iii

A Lion Salesman

by mark j. mitchell

He knocks on every naked door he sees
to save their homes from lack of a safe sign.
All people must stand proud and straight as trees.

Stone animals weigh him down, bend his knees

to gods of doorbells. A smile’s born each time

he knocks. Every door’s bare but he can see

where brass should hang and what finish it needs

to be safe and perfect. He’s modest. Resigned
to people’s no. Still, he’s straight, proud as a tree

to stand on each porch. He salutes flags, the breeze
that moves them. He helps folks to choose the right size for knocking off each naked threat they see.

He prefers sun, but lions dry fast. Keys
turn for his harmless face. He often fights

people’s pride. No won’t stand. They fall like trees

no one hears. He uses men’s ties, women’s beads

as tools. He works hard and earns every dime
he makes. He knocks on naked doors. They seize

his peopled soul. He plants stone lions like trees.

Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu   was recently published by Encircle Publications. He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living pointing out pretty things. Now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. Titles on request. A meager online presence can be found at A primitive web site now exists: I sometimes tweet @Mark J Mitchell_Writer