- Striking Distance
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]
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.