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Charles Kell


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

A Dance

Before my first seventh-
grade dance I sat nervous
in Darrin’s little house.

Which later burnt
to the ground, an accident
he spoke of like a poem.

I didn’t know where to move
my feet, the places on a girl
to rest my hands. He took

my arms and swayed side
to side and said that’s it,
though I thought there were

more steps. I thought the tractor
out back was a spaceship.
The narrator in our heads

a voice who spoke to everyone—
the same and different. We walked
to the school putting hand-

fuls of snow in our mouths.
It was cold yet we wore no coats.
Shoes became slushy and salt

stained. We thought the stars
were clocks but they were hidden
behind trapped black clouds.

That night I danced with Alissa.
Felt her hot body press
and move slowly against me.

Got an embarrassing erection.
The confetti looked like glass
shards stuck to the side

of the cafeteria walls.

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