Small Places I’ve Filled


My mother’s womb

the playhouse 

born of my father’s hands

laundry chute 

and linen closet

back seat of a Corolla

that tiny studio 


A boy’s heart.


I climb into these 

spaces frantic

a wild boar hunted


I sniff

get comfortable –


I climb into 

these poems 

whose words linger 

like lint

from a motel-quilt 

sky. Yet



there’s pleasure

settling my body 


where I can 

pull the curtains

burn incense

and fill 


like bodies do coffins.

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. Her first full-length manuscript is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. An educator of 20 years’ standing, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.