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Thirty-Three and a Third Revolutions
by Katie Riley

Summers ago we skirted the low roads
in West Virginia where the wear of tires

became a human scream as a train
whistle caught up with us.

I clutched your flesh under ragged
gray cotton, felt your lowest rib.

Even in quiet moments, God remembers
reaching through Adam’s chest

to steal that rib.
At the intersection of a dead road,

where a black and bone sign points
to where route 62 unravels east and west,

choose the one you can’t live without—
the bad habit you can’t break.

Last summer I rode west on 62 to a house
pummeled by rain, a home full of you.

How daring the redwing black bird clings
to a seed head

while the traffic, uncaring, passes.
Trees grow against the blood

of the horizon, and I turn to the thick taste
of wood smoke, to carefully clipped

lawns under chill street lights.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 3.

Katie Riley lives in Lexington, KY, a city she fell in love with as a child. She is a graduate of Murray State University’s MFA in Creative Writing and her poems have appeared in Still: The Journal and Border Crossings.

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