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Katie Jean Shinkle

Call Your Mother—Speedball

It’s the turn that’s the worst.

Like being caught on mountain’s edge


in a freak mid-summer snowstorm.

How the skin exposed is always only skin.


There is a way hypothermia tricks

into the belief of warmth. Here,


take your clothes off, you will be more comfortable.

But, you never are. Hide every body part


which someone at some time has deemed

unworthy. Look twice, three times


mirror-length and longing.


Pray to the Saint of humidity,

of appendages, of disorder, of sex.


Find circumference,

wrap your arms around,


buy your awareness a drink, more time,

some empathy. After all,


every coping skill can only

take the edge of momentarily.


I want to lay my body next to yours


rub my clavicle into your chest,

meld our bones together,


attach our organs.

Now we are one.


Move slowly,

the sutures are tenuous


and healing

is always slower


than we imagine

it will be.

Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of three novellas and five chapbooks, most recently Ruination (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018) and Rat Queen (Bloof Books, 2019). Other prose, poetry, and criticisms can be found in or are forthcoming from Flaunt Magazine, The Georgia Review, Denver Quarterly, Washington Square Review, Harpur Palate, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing at Sam Houston State University.