Reid Mitchell

2012/10/27 § Leave a comment

On the themes of Godzilla and How We Fall Out of Love


I’m building a green dragon
in my moonlit bedroom.
I hope she brings me luck.
It takes two mature dragons to breed.
I can break eggs without making an omelet
and the last dragon I claimed escaped.

I’ll ignite my dragon one morning
between river and bluegreen hills.
When she walks to the water, she’ll rattle
like shackles. Thirsty, she’ll fill
her stomach with sludge and Tsingtao cans.
Little Princes will chase her tail till
she dives and rests on river bottom,
and prays she’ll soon rust to measly pieces.
Maybe then, my verdigrisinous beloved
will miss our once happy home.

When the river prince abused a daughter
of Dong Ting Lake, it took an honest man
to bring news to her family. Her uncle,
diamond clawed, broke his chains,
ate the errant husband–two gulps–and flew
to heaven to request clemency.

Those dragons deserved respect,
their red hearts huge with hate
and love wider than their mouths.
They could teach a man to breath underwater.


Clytemnestra speaks
Red hand prints on a whitewashed wall
and a bay-leafed procession
down the cliff road to the sea.
Why should this sign inspire dread?

Think of summer strawberries
broken in your fingers.
Think of revelers drinking wine,
patting the friendly walls as they passed.
Think of the women who dyed your cloak crimson.
Think of strong hands lifting a newborn baby.

Red hand prints on a whitewashed walls
A wife is the best thing to have.
A wife smells sweeter than a good conscience.
She cuts cleaner than any brazen knife in Troy.

Yes, the ships came into the harbor with full tide.
Yes, the captains wear armor of gold
and carry sweet captives back to their homes.
Think of strong hands lifting a newborn girl.

Measure the palm print; measure my hand.
I would have pulled down stars,
and fed them, purpleskinned,
into the maw of my husband.

There are ships to Egypt but I will not worship cats.
Shall we look for flowers at the feet of strange gods,
or the floors of the sea?

The trickster asks for her I love best.
Such a foolish god to knock
when my purse is empty.

Red hand prints on whitewashed walls.
Think of your strong hands
lifting a newborn daughter
out of my bloody womb.

Author Biography

Reid  Mitchell grew up in New Orleans and is a teacher in Beijing. He has an MFA from Warren Wilson and has published the novel ‘A Man Under Authority’ and some short stories. His poems have appeared in CHA, Asia Literary Review, Pedestal, and elsewhere. He collaborates with  poet Tammy Ho and their dialogues have appeared in Barrow Street, ADMIT2, and Canopic Jar among others.


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