A Country Doctor By Charles Kell

A Country Doctor

Father lay silent
in the hospital bed,
new slit on his belly

where the hernia started
to wrap around his stomach.
Doctor cut a hole

and blood was pumped
into a small cylinder on
the wall. I walk in holding

a book set to read
but instead just
stare at the wall, think

about the nail he drove
into his hand thirty years
ago. Shocked, wondering

how he could smile. Glass
eyes, mother wrapping a wet
rag around his hand.

Stare at the crack on
the wall. Watch water
drip down the metal door.

I clip his toenails. See a rusty
strip float. Scratch a notch
in the iron bedframe. Close

your eyes and look:
outside rain kills the windowsill.
Inside our cell fills with sand.

By Charles Kell


Charles Kell is a PhD student at The University of Rhode Island and editor of The Ocean State Review. His poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Orleans Review, The Saint Ann’s Review, floor_plan_journal, The Manhattanville Review, and elsewhere. He teaches in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Leave a Reply