Sestina: Night Stalker by Mark J. Mitchell
Night Stalker by Mark J. Mitchell
In this drinking dream she ratted him out.
Not once, but every double-shot time.
He could never understand how she followed
a path through one nightmare to the next dream.
She was long and always wore white.
She didn’t look like anyone he knew.
Somehow, she floated like a ghost into each new
vision as soon as the lights went out.
He’d sit outside and order a long glass of white
liquor. His body knew it was wrong each time
and he was certain he was in his own dream
that always showed a plot he couldn’t follow.
Her face stayed nun-stern. She never allowed
liquid lapses. She gathered everything he knew,
dropping it like dice on a bar. She didn’t dream
herself. She ruled him, strict, without
a vision. She lived in a hut in her own time—
Very neat. Spartan. Painted purest white.
When he woke his eyes shifted to blindness. White
light walked him through guilt. She followed
him all day. There was the awful time
when he didn’t see her. Still he absolutely knew
she hovered over the bottle left out
on some broken bar in yesterday’s dream.
Not every night was haunted. He dreamed
kisses and dragons and climbing pure white
glaciers. He seemed to sleep out
of his life. There, under orders, he followed
a stiff path to find some brand new
flavor. She caught him, ratting on him each time
before retreating to her hut outside time,
counting weeks and hours until his guilt dreamed
her again. She never knew how she knew
when to appear, but she’d unfold her white
habit. Then she’d rise through his melting soul to follow
his sins. Only then would she lead him out
into a small white hut, placed to the left of time.
She followed a labyrinth she couldn’t dream
Until they both came out, perfectly pure and new.
©2018 Mark J. Mitchell
Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.. He lives with his wife the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco. A meager online presence can be found at