To enter a Kelly Canaday poem is to enter that time-space with a speaker who is above no one, even her history, at the hospital garden, before the slot machine, and surfing the internet at 8 am. Canaday’s speaker looks to memory as intimate as the “beetle in your hair” and as vast as the ocean through and in spite of the pain of the body as she looks to “wait for heaven,/ that it might hold/ me like a grinning cat.” Through her music, vanity projects crumble down. In their stead, a vision of love in spite of hate under the luminous “soul of a golden casino,” of desire though knowing “if I let him win, he still wouldn’t look at me.” This is a vision where time ebbs and flows, with a cadence that teaches the readers a bit about themselves through Canaday’s probing.
Kelly Canaday has an MFA from Columbia University. Her poems have appeared in WGCU/NPR, The Blue Mountain Review, Into the Void, Saw Palm, Book of Matches, and others.