Autobiography by Candice Kelsey


I used to know who I was. Today I’m just another adult. There are a lot of us. Adulthood makes for an easy scapegoat with its ambushes & guerilla tactics. What is adulthood but the unwanted progeny of Time? But Time is a red herring. I’d like to be a red herring. That would confuse my family even more. Still, life could be simple, just Patricia Cornwell & me. Perhaps I could get a poem out of it.

In her ‘61 essay on self-respect, Didion wrote: to be driven back upon oneself is an uneasy affair at best, rather like trying to cross a border with borrowed credentials. That’s why I write poems – & why I don’t write poems. There are too many borders to cross, to erase like the sense of who I am. Maybe that’s a childish pursuit. The imagination is louder than the air conditioner, & that gives a girl hope. Though it could be a distraction.

Because I am an adult, I will spend the morning looking for my passport. It will confirm my name, geography, & existence. Mystery solved. Instead of a cute ploy in the pages of a mass-market murder mystery, a government document is where I begin. & end. I’ll share the black & white photo with my friend the famous author when we meet for Pho. Waiting at the crosswalk, I am served a restraining order. They knew exactly who I was.