2 poems by Mark Mansfield

The Caller


Its gleaming luster spins, then slows,

easing to rest before my eyes.

The house is mute, and a freezing wind

moans through the trees. So, where my friend

am I? Just books peer back, as though

not a living soul were here.


But I am here, although I’ve vowed

a thousand times—go. Otherwise,

one winter spring may never come.

The snow will fall; the wind will numb.

Then, who’ll recall just when, or how

one moment turned to years,


in a derelict house

where certain nights

from an attic room

a shattered mirror glows?



The Swing


Earth's the right place for love:

I don't know where it's likely to go better.

―Robert Frost


Out past the harbor, a ship’s horn briefly moans,

recalling once more how one night she

slowly turned to smile at me when we were young,

having stopped beside an old swing where the trees

had let go their leaves to fall,

blanketing the walk we’d greet our classmates on.


And every star-crossed lyric; every song

that’s lingered after all,

only echo that briefest of melodies,

when her eyes danced, as laughing,

we pushed off and swung

far higher than we dreamt―till we leapt free,

its ghostly back-and-forth slowly creaking,

alone,

alone.


___________


Mark Mansfield is the author of two full-length collections of poetry,

Strangers Like You (2008, revised 2018, Chester River Press) and Soul

Barker (2017, Chester River Press). His poems have appeared in The

Adirondack Review, Bayou, Blue Mesa Review, Fourteen Hills, Iota,The

Journal, Magma, Measure, Orbis, Salt Hill, Staple, Star*Line, Unsplendid,

and elsewhere. He holds an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins and was a

recent Pushcart Prize nominee. Currently, he lives in upstate New York.