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Every Little Vanishing

Every Little Vanishing

by Sheleen McElhinney


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Winner of 2021 Write Bloody Publishing Book Award.

A perfect book for readers searching for the salve of darker verse and recovery poetry.
Every Little Vanishing is, at its core, a collection of poetry that will bring you to your knees with its honesty.

"...our marriage / a bridge between staying for the children we had or leaving for the people we want to become."

"Every Little Vanishing” might change your definition of poetry forever. If you've ever thought of the poem as something that muses and meanders, think again. Sheleen McElhinney writes poems the way novelists write page-turning fiction. Her first lines grab you by the collar and pull you––no––drag you through each word, kicking and screaming until you reach the poem's end. By the last line, you hurt so good you beg Sheleen to do it again. There were times I wanted to rip out the pages of this book and swallow them, desperate to consume the work in as many ways possible. There were times I pressed my ear to this book and heard an ocean of grief. What I mean is, this book will both drown and buoy you."

—Megan Falley, Author of Drive Here and Devastate Me, Write Bloody 2018
Co-Author of How Poetry Can Change Your Heart, Chronicle Books, 2019

“Like submarines, Sheleen McElhinney's unflinching poems probe the lightless regions of memory, addiction, loss, longing, and daughter-/sister-/mother-hood. In her debut collection she illuminates the various ruthlessnesses of a ruthless personal history—an illumination powerful enough to reveal a hard won hope, even here among the grief and disappointments of living. This is a poetics of survival that, using as its instruments, a fierce attention to detail and a brazen, uncompromising candor. It wades resolutely through the terrors of inhabiting a body in time and arrives at the one true miracle: the next moment. And the next. And the next.”

—Jeremy Radin, Author of Slow Dance With Sasquatch and Dear Sal.


These poems drag you to the darkroom of vulnerability where everything is exposed; the wounded child, the wreckless adolescent, the life and death of a sibling to addiction, and the loss of self through marriage and motherhood. These poems hold beneath their hard exterior the soft underbelly of what it means to love and lose. They are for anyone who wants to learn how to grow a new skin, to excavate the body of its grief, to devour it, and to let it choke you.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781949342291
Publisher: Write Bloody Publishing
Publication date: 10/26/2021
Pages: 100
Sales rank: 662,176
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Sheleen McElhinney is an unschooled poet, the runt of a large litter of kids, who grew up writing poetry in her diary, her left palm, the inside of her skull, and cocktail napkins. It wasn't until the 2020 pandemic, when slowing down and staying inside was mandatory, that she decided to knuckle down with the trauma and grief that would become this book. She currently lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pa with her 3 miraculous children. Her work has appeared in Whiskey Island Magazine and Dogzplot flash fiction.

Table of Contents

To A Brother 13

Epigraph 17

Another Night Wounded 19

It Wasn't Sad 20

Candy Shop (Boys Will Be Boys) 21

Revenge Scene 22

Halloween 1991 23

Witches Of Westbrook 24

The Illusionist 25

Mother Impostor 26

Elinore, A Portrait 27

I Saw It Coming 28

Honeysuckle 29

Take Me Back To The Church Basement 30

I Don't Know Why It Matters 31

Love Is Pain 32

My Son 33

The FedEx Man Always Knocks Twice 34

Archaeologist Of Flesh 35

Whatever I Could Have Been 36

This Is How I Know 37

May Fifth 38

The Woodpecker 39

The Ring 40

12 Step Training Manual For The Call 41

Omen 42

The Fear 43

Let's Be Honest 44

Pity Party 45

Purgatory 46

Orchestra 47

Tumbleweed 48

You Get It 49

Lily Of The Valley 50

Swallow 51

I Cannot Love You Here 52

We Never 53

That Stupid Song 54

Still Alive 55

Sixteen 56

I Surrender 57

The Third Baby 58

Something Like Love 59

You Will Still Be You 60

Everything Is Temporary 61

Ode To Finding Love 63

Let It Go 65

Maybe 66

Acknowledgments 69

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