Charles Kell


We were ten
when I made
Justin sit next

to me, watch Faces
of Death, where
they pound a live

monkey’s head
with small hammers
until crack

then scoop out
& eat its brains.
He looks down,

scratches loose
pieces of carpet,
still. Behind

us my drunk
father laughs people
are dumb, they’ll

do anything.
I recall only
bits of the movie.

Live autopsies,
severed limbs, bodies
ripped beyond

Justin’s heaving
chest, short breaths.

Eyes closed wishing
to be anywhere
but here. I didn’t care.



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.