Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.


by Charles Kell

Your piano key teeth
hide nothing. In the black
leather back seat
a flicked cigarette begins
to burn. Parked
in damp weeds, cool
air creeps through window
slits on this thick August
night. Maybe second-
guessing while simultaneously
accepting is the root.
You can touch what
you call my forgotten
ghost physique. My claws
work under your seat
feeling hot skin writhe.
And after last month’s fire-
works die in the dry grass.
And after the owl sits still
in the bark-stripped tree
for seven hours. Miles
from here, others whisper
our names, say each
syllable in slow, liquid
breaths, call out funereal
search parties, feeling our absence
grow wider each second.
Our idling black car, words
on our lips, buzzing reliquary, 
crypts, pebbles, cool water.
Charles Kell is a Ph.D student at The University of Rhode Island and 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.