Kiss Me Dry in the Desert

"Arizona" and "The Spare," two poems by Kaitlyn McNab

cacti at sunset

Kiss Me Dry in the Desert


I want to be whisked away to Arizona 
and kissed in the depression of the Earth.
Surrounded by rocks that have heard the moans of creatures like me, 
long necked 
and ferocious 
slow-stepping, and extraordinary. 
Standing ankle-deep in oceans of sand 
Under sun that refuses to give up 
Sharing heat with someone that loves me, 
that sees me as a beginning and the now, 
their future and their lover from a past life 
I want to love in Arizona. 
I want my palms and shoulders and the back of my neck 
bathed in sunlight and lips 
To fall asleep in a city of cacti  
and kept awake by all the life that romps in the night
I want to walk into the chilly desert draped under your arm, 
blanketed by all of you and all of the stars 
that seem more like ancestors,
winking and beaming down at us,
granting me the wish that has lived in my skeleton since my conception: 
to be loved unconditionally 
a freedom they’ve prayed over me endlessly. 
I want the stars and the moon 
and the lizards and the dirt 
and the fingers and their touch 
and the promise of forever, 
in Arizona. 

The Spare

I can be a masochist 
a narcissist.
An irrationalist,
when I’m angry. 
a catastrophist
when I’m afraid. 
a demolitionist
when I’m happy,
an extremist with my angst.
I often look into the mirror 
And I hope
for reflections of grandeur

for a version of myself that will never exist 

comparison is my vice
my lightning thief
my jealousy thunderous and violent
and loud enough to rattle the windows of my skull 
but repressed enough to never be seen in my eyes
as I stare up at the sun
and make a silent wish up on that star 
to melt the snowy scalps of the peaks, 
to obliterate the earth.
to match my energy in an act of passion
because how can I ever compete 
with these girls
who have only ever known 
raised around mountains while I have only ever known

raised in the fist 
of a small town
with no wonder
no freedom
only empty playgrounds
and a wide, mocking sky
I am the antagonist.
The terrorist of my own body
who feels bile climb up her throat with hungry fingers 
when I begin to feel like myself
when I begin to believe in the mythology of me 
I beat myself back down into fallacy
and act as ventriloquist
To be the girl I think you want 
to be an illusion you fall for
if only for a fleeting second.
because I am not rainbow 
I am not mountain
I am not Colorado sunset
but a snow squall 
a gaping chasm
the insatiable, colorless gloaming.
And I hope 


for your ability to thrive 
through a dark and stormy night 
with your high beams on
and a love for the drive

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