All There Is by Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin

Silence swells the night.
I listen for my father’s voice
and wait for streetlights
to blink on and off, dead bulbs
to blaze as I approach. The moon
has spoken to me.
This autumn—one death, two deaths,
three, four. My memory balks,

refusing to expose the numbers
lining up, the ones I know,
the ones I don’t, the animals as well,
spirits sprinkled in the cooling air
on dark mornings and at dusk.
I sense the day I’ll be
a thinned and hollowed carcass,
the gossamer sac

of a caddis fly ballooned
with the souls of loved ones,
their weight my grief
and ballast, the shape that whispers
these were the days that held
what I needed, before there was
only emptiness to drag. Their uncertainty,
a smoldering radiance,

should have been
a deliberate, focused act.

*Originally published in Grasslimb Journal, August 2019*

About the Poet:

Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin’s poetry has appeared in The Orchards Poetry Journal, The Poet, Writing In A Woman’s Voice, and elsewhere. Carrie also writes speculative fiction and has had short stories in Supernatural Tales, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Luna Station Quarterly, and other places. She is author of the horror novel Snare and a member of the Horror Writers Association. You can find her at, on Twitter at @cvnelkin, and on Facebook (Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin, Author).

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