When she finishes reading her own familiar words, turned unfamiliar against
the backdrop of snowfall: a print page,
She flips to the back of the book and scans the author names,
the new comrades, the other brave spelunkers who have learned
to plumb the depths of the publishing world,
scraping at wet walls for any purchase.
She goes to see whose names sandwich her own, imagines
the bodies attached to the identities, what the three of them would look like
seated at a table on the porch, gin and pens in hand.
She scans for Arizona names, wanting to see if
the searing cactus spines and riotous sunsets have inspired anyone else
to appear on those pages, to see if they take the cotton candy skies and
sweat-drops of unrest and spin them into the same kind of tales,
hot as the sidewalk frying pans.
Kelsey Hontz is an Arizona-based writer who has spent quarantine creating her own Zoom moderation business in between important void-staring appointments.