Paperback Price: $14.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-882295-72-2

Selected Poem

The Unlit Seam

Dreaming, my body calls to go back, step
over the pane, double-glass doors into blurry
kennels, rows longer than I remember, dogs
huddled and shaking on cotton blankets, noses
prodding beneath iron gates for air.

None rise, bow, speak. No eyes blazing, but
the unlit seam where lids kiss goodnight.
How I prayed for this stillness, thanked god
for silence—how it could shatter at once,
Tina, Joshua, Molly lifting dark bodies,

dumping them over deep-freezer lips
where they’d dwell until shipped to Noah’s Garden,
a crematorium, spading cinder in stock graves.
How the forsaken animals’ carmine silhouettes hung
from gypsum ceiling, knocked against our brows,

and afterward, in our watered-down room,
we regained silence, the dog's or cat's eyes
blank and deep as kismet we ushered them to.
Where we, the unquiet, rustle a garbage bag, snapping
it out to test the ear. Yes, we’re still waiting

to revisit, at night, the immutable scrolls we inked,
stacked neatly on shelves, each name locked, a chain
link door. Bolted, we’re praying for silence, not
to meet each other in this neighborhood, but praying
to be taken to wherever they live.


“…direct, exquisitely evocative…Salerno tells what’s hard to hear or admit…She tells what she knows, making the revealing both gripping and reverberating…[I]t is in works as emotionally daring and exposing as this that the political and personal merge. Unselfconsciously, nakedly, Salerno offers elucidation, internal and external, of the condition we comfortably call human.”

“…Salerno unfolds a story that we cannot stop reading—though…the bare truth on the page hurts… This first collection takes courage to read, but you can bet it took more courage to write, and we should be glad Salerno did it.”
Library Journal

“…this is real poetry, millennial poetry…[it] links our humanity to the way we treat animals we don’t want… Shelter is a hard book to read, but the lessons humans need aren’t always easy.”
The Bark

“[T]his is a powerful collection…fierce evocative poems…”
Kingdom Books

“This caring for animals and the shelter we seek becomes a universal…a lasting image of this book which makes Salerno’s Shelter, written in a poised and humane manner, a keeper.”
Gently Read Lit

“Carey Salerno’s poems are parables. Her ear tries words and her words find our moral lapses. At the shelter the fated animals are treated with kindness or euthanized, and the poet with unflinching gaze insists we do not turn away from the light or the darkness. Any person with a pet will want to read these honest poems.”
—Carol Frost

“In a volume as compassionate as it is unsettling, Carey Salerno questions the moral authority assumed in the narrow confines of the animal shelter. Abu Ghraib haunts these lines as the shelter takes on harrowing, allusive dimensions, and as the narrator weighs her burden of complicity. Shelter is filled with fierce and desperate yowling, much of it our own.”
—Michael Waters

Comments Off on Shelter

Comments are closed.