“A longing vertiginous and most green” by Suchi J. Pritchard




Look at you with head held high,

the heft of a mountain in a keyhole.


What will your hands be after summer,


after the rain bleeds through?

I prefer not to.


You can teach water to talk this way,


to copy names in a thick blue book,

look at a wall as a coffin


watches a tree, falling alone in a city.


In the office breath hovers over gray steps,

scent of lemony ink colliding in the dust.


See one walking with bent back.


On the cloudy ledger, flecks of torn skin.

See him chewing his watch like a leaf—






Torn Lichen



Along the swollen riverbank—

ghost-like: a pear

floats in the silvery air

waiting to be touched. I was hunting

again that dream of crystal

trees with leaves heavy

from the weight of green pears.​​ 

My initials carved next to yours,

deep & knotted & hard

to make out through the thick fog.


I closed my eyes as a painter

might before layering

initials on the canvas. Twenty

years ago I brushed torn

lichen against your damp cheek,

watched the starving skein of ants

devour the pears. We laughed,​​ not​​ 

even cigarette smoke can deter

them from their task.​​ 


Your left arm in a wine-

stained cast.​​ 

  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ Your eyes fixed

on a cross made from branches.


A numb wasp drooped from an orchard twig.


I never had anyone to talk to,

you whispered,​​ and I know I never will.




Charles Kell is the author of Cage of Lit Glass, chosen by Kimiko Hahn for the 2018 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize. He teaches in Rhode Island.

Suchi J. Pritchard is a painter and poet originally hailing from an island on the west coast who is currently an MFA candidate at Brooklyn College. Her current working themes question accumulations and disintegration’s of plastic corporeal entities of thought and things.