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Candice Kelsey


Candice Kelsey’s work has appeared in such journals as Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, and North Dakota Quarterly. She was a finalist for Poetry Quarterly’s Rebecca Lard Award and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. An educator of 20 years’ standing, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

Between a Mother and Son

for Mikey

On an afternoon
drive I
open the Kia’s
glove compartment cold
soil pocket
and unearth a pair of scissors

to cut open
the difficult packaging
of my son’s
Marvel Abomination toy –
extinct lizard whisper of fossil
radioactive menace
mask of limestone shoulders

my mind trails off
hiking the hidden stitch of Kentucky
thoughts crawl
a swath of bluegrass
hills and hollows
the labyrinthine underside of memory

I leave daylight
and find a dusky coolness that
like a sandstone cap
cradles my head

__the totality of darkness
the ancient miracle of light__
I am astonished

like an oversized firefly
I cave and filter
headlamp luminescence whispers me
through rock arteries

I am darkness and light contained
my son shadowy sweetness

karst topography
of flooding shimmering cascades
our car – tiny ecosystem
behind four doors wombing
us wet with speed

mother and son
on a Saturday afternoon.


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