Candice Kelsey

…So Why Start Now

Do I look yellow? like jaundice yellow? I half-jokingly ask
My husband sitting in the driver’s seat during half-time
Of our daughter’s soccer game. We came to charge
Our phones and get warm.

Look at my eyes carefully, I urge him. He is distracted
By the Michigan–Michigan State game on his phone, but
Manages to toss me a glance. I look back into the visor’s tiny
Mirror convinced I look sick.

I’ve been trying to drink myself to death, but it’s not
, I confess. He bitches about Fat Pat, who carelessly
Texts and that’s the game! before it comes through on a two
Minute internet delay.

The tall pine trees that thickened the edge of Fury’s Ferry Road
Have been bull-dozed. It’s a fifty-million-dollar project
To widen the road where we live. Orange barrels stand guard
Over newly exposed backyard fences.

There were so many trees just a month ago. Oh, some still
Lie there, waiting their turn to become dust as we just continue
Learning new words— feller buncher, excavator mulcher,
And bull hog attachment

The smaller trees seem to watch, waiting for someone to offer
An answer. Or to help. As though they expect one of us to notice
And make it stop. As though they expected us to keep our end
Of some ecological deal.

Well, we don’t— at least not for them. Or for us either. Nature
Realizes it’s on its own. And now that his game is over, I repeat
I’ve been trying to drink myself to death. My husband smiles:
You’ve never been a quitter before…

Candice Kelsey teaches writing in the South. Her poetry appears in Poets Reading the News and Poet Lore among other journals, and her first collection, Still I am Pushing, explores mother-daughter relationships as well as toxic body messages. She won the 2019 Two Sisters Writing’s Contest and was recently nominated for both a Best of the Net and a Pushcart. Find her at