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—
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-
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.