“The Stoics” by Charles Kell

The Stoics

False winter, suffering
without words. On the riverbank

frozen water, foot over ice.
Brittle mirror. A boy fell in last

year, branch reached out to catch
a receding hand. Over in an hour.

Mother collapsed on glass
leaves, you held her

shaking under a thick blanket.
Never a word. No sound

except pen scratching paper.
They say it was horrible to watch.

Two hours later the sky savage clear.
Quick, quicker, quickest.

Charles Kell is the author of Cage of Lit Glass, chosen by Kimiko Hahn for the 2018 Autumn House Press Poetry Prize. Twitter: @charles_kell. Website: charleskell.com