Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin

Carrie Vaccaro Nelkin’s poetry has appeared in The Orchards Poetry Journal, Third Wednesday, Grasslimb, Writing In A Woman’s Voice, and elsewhere. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Carrie also writes speculative fiction and has had short stories in Supernatural Tales, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Luna Station Quarterly, and Fiction Vortex. She is author of the horror novel Snare, a member of the Horror Writers Association, and one of five co-conspirators in The Penheads, a writers’ group that publishes anthologies of its members’ work.


I would sweep
your little umber bodies
into my arms, soothe your feathers
puffed and scraggly in the cold,
feed you
from my bag of scones
and let you feel my beating heart.
So close to me
you jostle,
eyes like wet black lentils,
bumping wing on wing,
breast on flank, annoyance
pulsing in your gaze, then lifting
without pique.
Morsels fill your minds,
scraps with calories to burn.
I toss you crumbs
from a crooked table
in the gray cold day,
abashed by stares from those who see
only the droppings,
the stains and motes
and shreds of fluff
gracing a woman’s eccentricity,
but not the single filament
that threads the earth
and stretches to the sky.

All Day, Clearing

(First published in Rose & Thorn Journal, November 2012)

All day, clearing
other people’s vines,
hacking strangers’ jungles
so they submit
to topiary pruning, she watches
her own snarled stems
creeping brown,
drying on her deathbed.
How much simpler if,
like her father, she
could touch another’s twining
and twist
the lines of thicket
to her heart, make
them hers.
she owns nothing
that does not molder.

Catch and Release

(First published in Corvus Review, Winter 2016)

When a thought swims close,
accompanied by a fact or a school
of shimmering sequences
and slippery interdependencies
spooked into chaos at the flick of an eyelash
or the barely seen shadow of another thought,
it is pointless now
to seize and squeeze it
through the mouth of the net
when the threads and fibers are loosened
and softly frayed.
Let it float by instead, sunning itself
in your gracious latitude
until it deigns to slip into your grasp,
nestling there a while
before it nudges its way back out
into the watery universe.