Charles Kell

How she takes

his hands

turns them over


in the new

November snow.

The white



at the tip

of the window-


less sea

waiting for

the two


to descend—

I kept



at bay back

then kept

in my worn


coat’s pocket

the photo

from twenty


years ago

keep, now, roaches

locked in


the cupboard

hear their scuttle

as the wind


hits the bricks.

I, like them,



in small circles


here my rusty


nail my tin

cup my father’s



has many 

rooms I ran

through once


he is now

dead he

is bones


in the sand

these were

my sister’s


hands I tell

you how

I wanted


to be them


the curves of


my smaller

fingers I love

cold water


how she 

dipped them

in salt, touched


each one

with wet strands

of snow-covered



Charles Kell is the author of Cage of Lit Glass, chosen by Kimiko Hahn for the 2018 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize. His poetry and fiction have appeared in the New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, Kestrel, Columbia Journal, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He is Assistant Professor of English at the Community College of Rhode Island and associate editor of The Ocean State Review. He recently completed a PhD at the University of Rhode Island with a dissertation on experimental writing, criminality and transgression in the work of James Baldwin, Rosmarie Waldrop, Joanna Scott and C.D. Wright.