CANDICE KELSEY [she/her] is a poet, educator, and activist in Georgia. She serves as a creative writing mentor with PEN America's Prison Writing Program; her work appears in Grub Street, Poet Lore, and The Worcester Review among other journals. Recently, Candice was a finalist in Iowa Review's Poetry Contest and nominated for a Best Microfiction 2023. She is the author of Still I am Pushing (FLP '20), A Poet (ABP 22'), and a forthcoming collection with Pine Row Press. Find her @candice-kelsey-7 and www.candicemkelseypoet.com.
To the Uber Driver Who Pulled into a Cemetery at Midnight
I don’t believe you’ve written three novels. And the leggy blonde laminated from your rearview mirror is not your wife. Your Russian accent seemed real enough though. Sitting in your back seat was also real as you took me from the Ithaca airport to my brother’s rehearsal dinner in rural New York at midnight. You pulled into Asbury Church Cemetery without a word. Together we sat until you backed out. Suddenly you delivered me safely to the Driftwood Inn. I want you to know that I haven’t forgotten you. I also think you should know I changed into a rented dress & had time for a glass of chardonnay with the bridal party. My mother drank too much that night. She’s one of those embarrassing drunks like that character in the novel I doubt you ever wrote. Blonde like your Belarusian bride I heard about while dialing 911. A mother is a conveyance of her own. Mine has run through intersections of what is real and unreal. Tonight, this drunk & blonde mother-of-the-groom left her trail of Marlboros on the vineyard deck. The rest of us hugged and took pictures until she stumbled down the steps & had to be carried out, ivory pantsuit fluttering like ghost breath. That was real & you almost made me miss it.