Danielle Mitchell

Disappearing Index

Men teach dogs how to stray.

He folded himself into tiny compartments & filled them with seeds. It attracted birds & squirrels & each day he became more vacant. Nothing grew. Nothing reminded us that he was once the entire garden. There was nowhere for the aphids to feed. Little things began to die. The fat squirrels were all we noticed.

A theoretical approach that says we can understand anything we want to understand if we are willing to break into distinct, separable, independent components.

Democritus got the idea from his teacher, Leucippus. See Also: Atomism.

A key is missing. A drum won’t begin without a frontier. A rug. A march. Tightly woven for a man’s feet, or a dog. Diagram of a riverbed. We are walking home & home & not home. I admire you, but I am sitting in a house with Sharon Olds watching a collection of shrunken heads wink behind her as she speaks. She speaks so softly, you would like it.

Pulling his sequence from breeding rabbits & answering it with cows, he bore a golden formula into the pinecones I collect in my shoulder bag because I want their smells. My lover is waiting in his apartment, he is also my teacher; I haven’t decided who I’ll tell.

Fear of old age.

The most dangerous person in society. The one who has a grudge. The one who becomes obsessed, is exceptional at planning & documenting.

Said to be responsible for all mass in the universe. A slice of the 17-piece pie of creation. Maybe the whipped cream. Maybe the flaked golden crust. Made in the 17 mile stretch of the LHC beneath France, it appeared for less than a nanosecond in 2012.

His existence has been denied & we know next to nothing about his life. The assumption of an empty space, however, makes it possible to affirm that there were an infinite number of real men who understood what it was to be indivisible. 

But the river cannot disappear. The night goes into its grey house, the heart goes into the ground & vanishes for now, but not when I see you again & you’re remarried, her name a whisper of my tongue in your ear.

A quick linguistic accident, used only once. Solution to the immediate problem of language. Example: quark, runcible, eradica, fnord, pompatus, kiki; the sluggish problem of language.

Of the estimated 35,000 polygamists living in the United States five succeed on television. Sleeping alone, I imagine my husband in another half of the house making children with my sister-wife whom I also love.

If the Higgs particle is the answer, what was the question?
– Faye Flam.

When something is moving away from you very fast, this highway is a good example. 

Frivolous grasp of reality & vodka. Prone to illness & dreams of fancy linens strangling her in sleep. Bored. Terribly bored. Will not love her children, but will love them to death. Will visit the psychiatrist for fun, have too many mothers. She won’t run she will stand inside not waiting. She is definitely not waiting for you.

The valley misses the lonesome babes cradled in its bush, mothers picking berries. The way they’d sing to each other in a language that isn’t known to us even though we’ve heard it, I am singing it to you now.

Have you anything to say, Mr. Banks?

1Each player departs the stage as she finishes her music, which leaves the audience to applaud at nothing.
2Each player departs the stage as she finishes her music, which leaves the audience to applaud.
3Each player departs the stage, which leaves the audience.
4Each player, the stage.

The study of coping with loss.


Interview with Simba [Young Adult]

I speak a stampede. Every language that grows in me delicate as a flash flood. I stare dust. I relent sky, earth & the empty husks of fallen trees. Don’t you see how I’m punished enough? Let me eat bugs for another ten years, I deserve worse. I tremble oasis, seethe antelope blood. Antelope tears. Antelope pale like that moon making a mockery of the bones that must be falling out of their skins by now. My father, a sunken kingdom. I speak worm. I crawl desperate. Roll over at twilight, deserted. For weeks now I cloy my right paw against a rock, I want to dim my meanness down. I throw mange. I tree vine & empty parade. Bombard this fallow plain with my uneaten heart. Come, mud bath. Come, break tooth. Come brother who isn’t born. There is no use for me anymore.



DANIELLE MITCHELL’s poems have appeared in Harpur Palate, Four Way Review, Stirring, Connotation Press, and decomP. Her work has been honored with the 2015 Editor’s Prize from Mary and the 2014 Editor’s Choice Award from The Mas Tequila Review. Danielle is an alumna of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley and poetry editor for Wherewithal. Danielle lives in Long Beach, California where she is director of The Poetry Lab. Catch up with her at poetryofdanielle.com.