Charles Kell

2 Poems

The Stoics

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.

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