Torn Branch


by Charles Kell

Out of tune piano whiskey

wet. His name on my inside

pocket. We drove

a black Cutlass down

Brosius Road watching

the leaves burn blue.


Turned my head & he was gone.

Promised his mother I’d stop & visit after

the funeral. Talk about all

of those years I kept the torn branch

he gave me one night

deep inside Nelson’s Ledges.


It’s on my bookcase 

now. I could grab it, drive back

to Ohio, race down Brosius Road

to Mark’s mother’s trailer, 

knowing he is gone forever,


yet there’s his face when I close

my eyes, right hand gripping

the wheel. Left clenched pocketed

in a fist, touching his name.