Last summer your skin tasted
of orange peel, of ephemeral
lies buried deep in your lungs.
Never more than two words: that hurts,
or like that, right there. Every-
thing inside me became unlocked,
the Stanley knife you stole that looked
as though it could barely break flesh,
the love letters we scrawled on cedar
panels. The fabulous taxidermy
you found, in that shed buried
in a Windham, Ohio wood, how you
slowly led me by the hand, pointed
at the lock you knew all along I would break.
How we sat under hulking antlers
drinking warm beer, whispering to each
other all the books we would write.
Artemis, Lethe, you said. Fox mask,
beaver, formaldehyde, sodium borate.
A fawn with tiny pins sticking from its eyes.
CHARLES KELL is the author of Cage of Lit Glass, chosen by Kimiko Hahn for the 2018 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize. He teaches in Rhode Island.