The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Charles Kell

My Other Novel


where the little boy sings
for hours in the forest alone.

His aching hand claps bark
for each night spent on the ground.

He went looking for his dead sister.
A circus finds him, feeds the hungry

mouth sweet bread, cool liquid drips
down his chin staining a torn shirt.

Stars are clocks floating above
the clockmaker’s skin. The boy runs

away to go looking again. Crickets click
bildungsroman to the red leaves.

In its golden spit it puts the rusty pins.
I rip each page to fine bits,

scatter them on the forest floor
where they will become part of the soil,

loam, swamp fisted with insects.
It was stupid, this idea. The boy agrees.

He thinks I can’t see him perched in a tree
with bow & arrow pointed at my lung.



Charles Kell

My Father's Box


sits on her bedroom shelf, discreet.
I wait until she leaves, creep
back & open the top, lick
my left pinkie then dip it in.
Place the inchoate grey
smudge in my mouth, swirl
the soft, wet paste, then swallow hard.




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 in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, IthacaLit, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.



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