I loved the humidity then.

It could have smothered me.

I didn’t mind,

in the tree house,

lying on my back like a forgotten swimsuit,

drinking in the hum of flies.

I rolled over the uneven planks until the call for dinner.

That verdict now in.


Heat waves never drove

down my street

when I was seven,

but one crawled over our back fence

when I was thirteen.


I timed the drops

of sweat, beads like men

solitary and suicidal leaping from my face

until my father drove up.


Even the heat

didn’t dare go near him.


Candice Kelsey

Candice is a passionate educator who has been challenging students to think and live well for 18 years. Her poems have been published in print and online publications, including The Forum (San Francisco City College), 13th Floor Magazine, Tethered by Letters’ f(r)iction, 50 Haiku, Assaricus; she has read at various LitQuake and open mic events from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Candice is also the author of a 2007 trade paperback book (de Capo) which led to her spot on NPR with Diane Rehm. Candice earned her M.A. in literature from LMU. She is an Ohio native who carves out life in Los Angeles with the help of her three children and many pets.

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