The Patients of Job
Because they know suffering
but do not know how to suffer
they sit crouched in dust
beside their master with his sores and potsherd.
They were three old men, named,
and that young one who came and was named later.
They pretended to wisdom
but only so they might hear him speak.
Because he’s had the disease
and he knew it, intimate as a kiss.
Only his words could cure
because he alone had heard the freighted words:
and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He has published three chapbooks, Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics, and a novel, Knight Prisoner. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Joan Juster.