Three Poems//Tracy Mishkin




Someone at home wanted to kill me,

and my father was blind. I walked

across the sand, carrying my life

on my back, my arms wrapped

in goatskins. I learned that a desert

is best crossed at night. I slept

on a stone pillow, dreamed

of God’s messengers. I saw a well

like a beacon, a flock of sisters

struggling to lift the cover. A trickster

sold me his daughter, but I had made

a bargain with God, and all our sheep

and goats bred true. I taught my wife

to make my mother’s red, red stew.









101st Homicide, 2015


When the yellow tape and the dark red

blood are gone, when the wallet

with our family photos has been released

from evidence, when three days of paid

bereavement have passed and the jar’s

gone round at work for casket funds,


then we will have dreams of identifying

the body, reporters on the porch, cops

coming back to question us again, praise

for Jesus and the embalmer’s skill, whispers

of revenge and today we do not mourn,

the first breath that ends without a sob.








ghost bicycle


His mother spray-painted a ten speed and chained it to the
guardrail  where  he died.  At first real flowers,  then  plastic.
Yesterday, another white bike appeared, near where a deer
died,  impaled  on  a  high  fence.   Cyclists  passed. Parks &
Rec   pulled  up  with  a   pitchfork  in  a  flatbed  truck.  The
carcass with long eyelashes fell.

Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and an MFA student in Creative Writing at Butler University. Her chapbook, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Her work has appeared recently in Hartskill Review, Little Patuxent Review, and The Quotable. She doesn’t tweet, but she has a website.