Three poems by Kendall A. Bell

How to be quiet about your sadness

Keep it hushed under your thick, gray
sweatshirt, tell it not to move a
muscle. Bury it behind bloodshot eyes.
Force it down your throat, its fingers
clawing back up in measured motion.
Keep it walled inside your ribcage
prison—in solitary confinement. Lie
yourself into hopefulness. See how it
immolates without a match, with hardly
a spark. In the darkness, it manifests
in blood and ragged breaths. Lie, and
say that you want to wake tomorrow.

A galaxy in abandonment

Sometimes, it is better to be ignored,
to be the dated wallpaper peeling in
a creep, than be the bruised bone, the
shove in the back. Sometimes, movement
in black and white is the muted solace,
the wires in twitch and flare finally
at rest. What is stored in waves of
flesh cannot be stolen, cannot be the
crushed and splintered pinecone left to
decay in winter. This dwarf planet has
a fragile ecosystem meant to sustain a
single life—resources have been rationed.
All other inhabitants, a willing extinction.

Wine dregs and broken shoelaces

A sealed box of sorrow will
eventually seep under duress.
It will crumple with each
kick, with each loss. Pictures
of toothless half smiles and
happiness coerced drift out of
the seams. The body has grown
up and out—the topography will
remain infertile, will collect
the vacuity as commonplace.
Dead leaves and empty, wind
blown bags are keepsakes.
Bones are made to be broken.
Your insides are an unripened
pear—a landfill of discarded,
unopened letters.

Kendall A. Bell’s poetry has been most recently published in Wickerpedia and Olney Magazine. He was nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net collection seven times. He is the author of two full length collections, “The Roads Don’t Love You” (2018) and “the forced hush of quiet” (2019), and 29 chapbooks, the latest being “bloodstream”. He is the publisher/editor of Maverick Duck Press and editor and founder of Chantarelle’s Notebook. His chapbooks are available through Maverick Duck Press. He lives in Southern New Jersey.

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