In a mirror another mirror.
My secret isn’t safe
with me. I can never
ever imagine what it’s like
not to want. October,
alone. An autumn feeling,
placing one in the context
of one’s surroundings:
the brown table, book-
cases heavy with dust,
flicker of the lit orange
candle. A wasp on the screen
trying to get in. Ghosts
are real even when
they’re not. All of this you
know. My shoes on
my feet—I’m not going
anywhere. Words
are broken things, never
meaning what I need
them to. A boy, my friend
at sixteen, running
together in a shallow
creek bed just outside
Nelson’s Ledges as the hail
bruises our shirtless backs.
As though he would
be waiting there, just ahead
without turning around.
He’s now a wreck with-
out a helmet. Twisted
pieces of metal and blood
on the pavement. His
body bone-white and still.
All of this you know
until now. Never again.
Skin traces its way
back to a field, wet leaves
beneath, staring out
into the distance, away.

Charles Kell is currently a PhD student at the University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review.

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