Poetry: Oblivion Letter by Charles Kell

Charles Kell’s poetic missive leaps across associative gaps with subtle ease, tip toes through history, through violence. “Oblivion Letter” is all dark corners and boys named Night and is a little scary, to be honest—eyes gazing across the couplets like hands on the hallway walls of a haunted house.


Oblivion Letter

Recall a bottle on the table by the window.
Later, running sweaty in the wood,

heels bleeding through brown leather shoes.
If I could taste your cold elixir rush

down my throat once again.
Dear K: the cracked city street has a name

you can whisper. Dark corners to go
looking for any thing to feel.

The boy called Night advancing. Green
serpent coils with a mouth of stone.

Burnt plastic smoke scalds finger & lung.
Words you write when your shadow arrives.

I slept in the library, head pressed in a French
poet’s biography. I laid cinder strait

in a station basement. Electric trains whipped
by as my open mouth hummed a white cell

sonata. There was almost always more time.
The autumn fields were set on fire, to warm

the dying as they rose, I read in a book. Give
this note an open home. Give the sparkling

dots behind closed eyes names of old friends.
Move slow through stillness. No longer

caress your small devil’s alveoli. Starve
the animal inside a little at a time. Think of torn

feet running over dry leaves, twigs.
Hunched in a different city, loose stone, rubble,

concrete foxes. Pleiades scars cicatrized
on bare backs. Sewing a torn sleeve with a mid-

night needle. Sewing slivers of mirror
on spotted cotton. Petting blood blisters

with strands of brown hair. The aluminum foil sky over-
head. Bells ringing somewhere. Soft sound of sirens.



Charles Kell

Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and an associate editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, Kestrel, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

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