The End of Time

By Mark J. Mitchell

Homage to Olivier Messiaen


Notes mistake barbed wire

For a treble staff

And so perch there until

A clarinet wails their cue.


They start their escape,

Jumping to the bass clef

And sliding down,

Hiding behind flat black keys

On a broken piano.


Until the violin’s high note,

Long and clear,

Transfixes the guards,

Holding them until the end of time

When music vanishes.



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. His chapbook, Three Visitors, will be published by Negative Capability Press later this year and his novels, The Magic War and Knight Prisoner will be published in the coming months. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and film maker Joan Juster. Currently he’s seeking gainful employment since poets are born and not paid.

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