Kell Connor


The comma caught
at the corner of my mouth,
the pin that pierces
praise. Its pause sears a
sharp turn of phrase
in cast iron or clear flame
and the burn returns
me to my body
from a long daydream.
I curate the carnal
the Carnation instant
breakfast mixed
with skim milk. Just
gulping desperately.
They ate my baby teeth.
The strawberry milk
is swallowing me.
I was allowed a moment
of wholeness before
I fell into feeling these holes.
That’s how much I can’t
ever thank you.



once my only virtue,
turned away and became
your watchword.
Give it to me
like bad advice.
Don’t cry
there’s a heaven above us
heaving, retching, disgusted.
Wrapped up tight in light
blocking curtains
we declare the dark desires
us and wants us to take it
by force. Seems true,
in a manner of speaking.
Feels wrong as a matter of course.



Memory loops
like piano wire
lops thought off
at the neck, garroted
carotid, kid. Rats
in the tailpipe
and sugar in the tank.
How many miles
to the next “no thanks”?
Yes. Here you are
my rocket queen
in spandex, white leather,
slender distress. Strawberry
blonde your final form
is feminine, a wail
aware of the horror
of womanhood. Banished
to the body. The whole world torn
in half before you. You’re
not the only one.
I say it before I know it.” 



Take me wayward
a little longer.
Okay, now summarily
slay me. I play of you,
a thin sing emitting,
listing leeward
greeting fleece
as flayed flesh,
baring false fangs.
My flag. The first
bead of blood
is a jewel boiling
in my open palm.
Beneath raised
nightsticks I wed
my whiteness. I do.
I implore. Rats scatter.
Like a cat, I know
my own name
and will deign
to learn no more.



Lay me down like a slower Slayer song
alongside the pyre
minus mourning. Mar me harder
I murmur meaning it more
than ever. A dull love, brotherly,
bothers the corners of my mouth.
A dead or dying dove
a bauble under our observation.
I sever its neck so nothing
else can savor its suffering.
Double bag the slaughtered
bird but don’t mop up
the little dime of blood it left.
“Oh, man. Don’t begrudge me
my memorial.”



Thanks for faking
it all over my face,
thanks for giving me
this space to spar,
for helping the harm
sprawl harder. I got
a welt, a bad runt, ate
the rest of the whelps
in the nest. I feel like the veldt,
the long melting sky: Lewd.
A might not, maybe night. Good.
God. It steamed itself shut
again. It seals from the interior
and summons me abruptly. Fine.
I’m coming.

Kell Connor lives in Nebraska. recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Verse, Columbia Poetry Review, Flag+Void, and Witch Craft.

Mark Cugini