Amanda Mitchell
reinterpreting the scene beneath a kaleidoscopic lens

I have been thinking lately of an object
it has been crushed on one side

and if I am to lay it sideways in my palm it does not cease being

crushed
on one side

and if I am to place it in a chamber with mirrored walls

a crushing comes
from all sides

I want to propose a past that has gone kaleidoscopic

can no longer be violent what is violent disappears in the

seams between mirrors

in which small pieces of girlhood seem to shrink just before

the edges grow all

the brighter they are the less jagged they

I want to propose a past that rattles at the end

of a scope I twist slow isn’t something I want to take apart

I only want to
watch this part

what happens if I take it apart I am trying to remember how it

only happens when I close my eyes to

this twirling chamber fills

a hue spreading as if

it is a bruise it has been growing bright edges since

memory is distance
is distortion perhaps
pressing my own
eye to jagged rock

since no one else could be said to have been there

eye squinting against shatter
twinned across mirrored
edges like jaws opening
upon small bright

since it is entirely possible someone had been

standing behind me eying
how best to shatter me in
a moment my eyes were fixed

upon a shattering elsewhere upon a seam a facet a glint

never here not really there

these girlhood tricks

look how small
and bright how they split
the dark thrust your eyes
down this tunnel this
twisting chamber

tricks of the light

cut away to show their bright insides

try to look anywhere but

it was entirely possible what could have been

cut away to show their bright insides
the brightest part of the scene
wasn’t just a stone fixed in
a gold band it was a whole
fistful of rock it wasn’t
clear what color

dripped from the jagged side felt less like teeth than soft mouth lifting

yes it was entirely possible what once had been

a dull color before broken
in two a rock rather plain
on the outside opened upon
what seemed like gleaming

rows of violet teeth what was inside the dark rubbed

raw sugar to the lips

this is how it seems to me

what had broken has broken

sweetly

I want to propose this is not my first proposal

waking and opening the door of the house perched on a wooded hill

what rushed in from out was brisk

what lay at my feet
a small splatter a trinket
left by the barn cat

unwrapped from the flesh of a fox a gory trinket

just a little something

I think it sprang from someplace near the heart

the inexplicable desire
to watch a thing
unwrapped slowly

to memorize what it is to see what had been kept from sight

what has been seen that should not have been seen isn’t that how it goes

let alone placed
among mirrors in a
chamber a mind mirroring
what should not have
been seen is seen
over again

but if I am to lay it sideways in my palm it’s as if it had never been

crushed
on one side

just as it is

easy to overlook the teeth of such an affectionate creature

for whom leaving bloody pieces

on the doormat the nearest expression of

what has been seen that should not have been seen that it wanted me to

look at all the small bright pieces inside

once split how could it have been once composed

of these bright
pieces after all
how small

just as it is

difficult to think of that hand as it was

that day it was a fist with a rock

for whom affection was possible only after a forceful expression of

I want to propose a past that shatters

an object so brightly lit I want to say translucent

a glass prism slick
in my palm edges not
so sharp as to suggest
how it will slice the pale

colorless ray breaks open as my

hand is filled with small bright pieces

and if I am to make a fist the colors only scatter across my fingernails

an object composed just so

any thing that comes against it will shatter

look how
it drips from
the jagged side glistens
like sugar spun like
something to lick

tricks of the light

if memory is distance is distortion it has been cut to catch

if I close my
eyes to these
small pieces

cannot gleam in the dark cannot rattle so brightly

in a chamber without mirrored walls what can stay hidden

what of the seams

tricks of the dark

a past that rattles at the end of a scope I break open

what seems to skitter
like many bright gems

only this sharp heap of mirrored pieces

I want to propose a past the dark uncoils around

a rattle I might have known would fill my palm

with teeth

Amanda Mitchell holds an MFA from the University of South Carolina, prior to which she studied English and Creative Writing at Hollins University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, Third Coast, Tupelo Quarterly, and The Journal, among others. She lives in Dallas, TX and reads poetry for Oxidant | Engine.