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  • Striking Distance
  • Katelyn Joy Wilkinson (bio)

I have it in me so much nearer home

To scare myself with my own desert places.

—Robert Frost

At least you pulled me back this time                    you laugh once          I let go of your arm                            You're getting betterWe watch the rattler         taut across the sand              pull its dinner face-first into the creosote        You say ground squirrel but all I see              are the red-brown chipmunks burrowed                    under my parents' porch         fed                          fat and happy with birdseed                             through Midwest winters                    Supposedly                          the difference is in the stripes              Really                    I don't care what's being eatenI just want the warning           the one                 that Mojave green      didn't givewhen it rose up quiet next to my boot           sideling                 into our path like a guideLucky it was still early           he hadn't warmed up for the day                                    and I had to believe you                                               were right you                                         know heatwhen pressed against your back [End Page 26]                          how        quick                    the desert changes             even as we stare into it                                     how        still          it gives us spaces to cling             crooks in canyon walls to rest and watch                          you move above me                            climbing waterfall stone             slick even off-season

          each handhold a yes   until it isn't [End Page 27]

Katelyn Joy Wilkinson

A Kentuckiana native, Katelyn Joy Wilkinson holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She teaches creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. Her work is published or forthcoming in Reed Magazine, 45th Parallel, 580 Split, and Passages North, among others.



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