C. C. Russell currently lives in Wyoming with his wife, daughter, and two cats.
His poetry and fiction have appeared in the New York Quarterly, Rattle, Pearl,
The Meadow, and Whiskey Island among others. He has held jobs in a wide
range of vocations — everything from graveyard shift convenience store clerk to
retail management with stops along the way as dive bar dj and swimming pool
maintenance. He has also lived in New York and Ohio. His short fiction has
been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions.

Seventeen, in Translation

It is as the invitation of someone
to pass the night.
Offered probabilities, certain

Since I went under you,
that I was lowered in you.

You showed me the photographs
I had known. This was that feeling.
Remembering how, in you, I was turned.
Hands in my hair, while all of me
became blue.

How I knew that I loved
with a way that I could never.
As I knew that I never loved it
in a way that I could.

How it returns in your walls of midnight,
your dirty house.

A favor.
A message that was rejected in favor.
A favored rejection.

Third Photo - Kite Against Sky; Cindy

"This terminates with me,"
you wrote across the back.

Your thin arm just out of frame,
fingers gripping a nearly invisible

The photo simple
in and of itself:

Everything you were holding up.
Everything you were reeling in
and releasing.

Hung Low by Translation

Hurt by the simple;
how impossible we can be in words.

And yet, simultaneously, voices
of possibility, the basin filled
with all that we do not know.

This will become fact.
This will be heard through the branches.
This will sing.


I need the burning pages
to matter, need their smoke
to still carry
our stories.

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