One step draws light
to what you know.
False winter, suffereing
without words. On the riverbank
frozen water, foot over ice
brittle mirror. A boy fell in last
year, branch reached out to catch
a receding hand. Over in an hour.
Mother collapsed on glass
leaves, you kept her
shaking under a thick blanket.
Never a word. No sound
except pen scratching paper.
They say it was horrible
to watch. Two hours later
the sky savage clear. How a story
comes around. Moment forgotten
quick, quicker, what happened?
Light paper lifts then ascends.
The closing of something is not
The start of something else.
It is the end. Seems an easy
way to finish. This subtle
announcement. Not, instead,
the sickness one feels for
attempting to make some-
thing out of it.
The Lost Boy
Sister is sick, puking
up food on purpose, everyone
gone, “wings of a fly”
she says, caught in her throat “on fire.”
Huddle together, walk the white goat down
Freedom Road in Ohio.
My name is Dirt: nine-years-old.
The stars reach out grab one another
then blow up. Cold little
pieces of dirt rain down.
We watched The Lost Boys over & over.
She drove to the theater. Popcorn
& Pepsi. Snowcaps. “They’re maggots
Michael. How are those worms,
Michael?” In her throat burns
acid from the wretched food. “I’m all right”
she says. All that is required is empty
out. A little farewell.
When I was older I got sent
to jail. Sister disappears.
I have to find her. I swear on all
the salt floating in the air. She is here,
somewhere in the city. I search for bits of paper,
red string, loose strands of her hair.
Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, floor_plan_journal, The Manhattanville Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.