peter mitchell

Six Years after My Mother’s Death at 53


At a funeral, the living collect vowels and consonants: words 

as exchange with the one-in-repose; words as

reminders of life’s mess.

     Earth’s thud on the coffin lid is calligraphy,        

the dirt granules longhand for an acceptance (of sorts),

the fug of loss &

memories as the present tense.


With no funeral for Patricia Cynthia in 2010, loss is bereft 


Green fire scorches words; leg muscles are guitar-string

tight; disbelief void-weights  

my stomach. 

Recollection is an unaddressed envelope, the letter inside

with one black stroke

in a corner. 


At 53 in 2016, her image is still technicolour bright. 

At night, 

she stands at the hall’s end, evanescent 


     If a day is writing productive or  

     I score a goal playing football, I think,

             I’ll ring and tell her.  

Then the bereavement  

inside-outs me,

skin pomegranate-red,

heart swollen,

the blood 

on a marathon under an empty heaven.


Living on Bundjalung Country, Peter Mitchell (he/him/his) writes poetry, memoir, short fiction, essays and literary criticism. The recipient of fellowships, mentorships and a writer’s grant, his poetry has appeared in Mini-Mega Pack (United States), Bent Street, Blue Bottle Journal, The Blue Nib (Ireland), The Ekphrastic Review (United States) & Writing Water: Rain River Reef (Red Room Poetry, 2020), among other journals & anthologies. He is the author of Conspiracy of Skin (Ginninderra Press, 2018) & The Scarlet Moment (Picaro Press, 2009). Conspiracy of Skin was awarded a Highly Commended in the 2019 Wesley Michel Wright Prize for Poetry.