Candice Kelsey
Paused in Front of Marble Relief of Mithras Slaying the Bull
Children are the marble relief bull pinned to the ground in the 3rd Century show of ancient violence of occult sacrifices carved in stone womb shrine Mithras with head turned and mantle billowing pulling a bull back plunging a knife like the world's madness while dog scorpions and serpent prey upon tender flesh exposed and naïve a scene unimaginable frozen in time like a tombstone or sad shibboleth raised to honor the child gone too soon— Rachel's children slaughtered by Herod Pip abandoned by Stubb and his crew America’s children at Sandy Hook great bulls in bas-relief no chance at all simple offerings always then and now. But you are the bull and I am Mithras and I am your scorpion and they are my dog and you are the serpent and we are the knives and these are the lines screaming it.

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Candice Kelsey's debut book of poetry, Still I am Pushing, releases March 6th with Finishing Line Press. Her first nonfiction book explored adolescent identity in the age of social media in 2007. Her poetry has appeared in Poet Lore, The Cortland Review, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals while her first micro chapbook The Pier House is forthcoming with the Origami Poetry Project. A finalist for Poetry Quarterly's Rebecca Lard Award and Honorable Mention for Common Ground's 2019 Poetry Contest, Candice’s creative nonfiction was nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Prize. She is an educator of 20 years' standing, devoted to working with young writers.