with keys and ready the heel of your hand
to crack noses. Knuckles sharp
with keys and the heel of the hand readies
to crack noses. Keys sharpen knuckles;
handheel cracks noses. Knuckles to
noses. Knuckles to noses. Knuckles
to noses. Knuckles to noses. I don’t even like
boxing. I check the backseat
before locking myself in. I hesitate
rolling the trash bin to the curb.
From ages 12-17 I practiced
shimmying tied hands from under my knees
without parting them. Every day
a female friend or relative forwarded the newest
threat—baby crying roadside, flat tires in the mall
parking lot, unattended bar drinks. I hate
the coiled crouch of my body in the dark,
hate my muscles knowing what to do, hate
my expectant resignation, hate
the assault that feels inevitable.
~ Katelyn Roth
Katelyn Roth graduated with her Master’s in poetry from Pittsburg State University. She teaches composition and general literature at Pittsburg State University and Fort Scott Community College. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity.
Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other books are a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press) and A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press). Jackalope, fiction, was acclaimed by Pennyless (U.K.), American Book Review, and New Letters. She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and recognition from PSA, Roberts Foundation, Lichtor Award, NEH, and more. Low has an MFA (Wichita State U.) and Ph.D. (Ks.U.). She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. www.deniselow.net