Kelsey Ann Kerr


Your arm flies out in front of me
as we come to a quick stop
on the asphalt, avoiding the SUV,
and I think of last winter, caught
in a snowstorm, how I was terrified, stuck
on I-70 near Bethel, until I found a way out
into a friendly pizza shop
where someone led me to safety,
to a hotel, and I felt like such an adult
but I was so lonely in that blizzard,
sitting in bed with a book on one side,
journal on the other, thinking
about texting the girl from the pizza shop
just to feel a sense of company,
so I turned on the TV to watch
faces appear and disappear, to hear laughter
and let it lull me to sleep.
I wish I’d known years ago
that after my parents died
I’d still find the kind of love
where someone’s reflex
is to protect me, arm flying out
without a thought, always there
like a safety bar on a rollercoaster,
the beginnings of a summer romance
that would blossom into
a lilac bush in spring—
the sense of shelter, scent of home.

Kelsey Ann Kerr teaches writing composition at the University of Maryland and American University, and holds an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Maryland. She has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the Big River Writers’ Conference. Her poetry also was nominated for Best of the Net 2017 & 2018. Kelsey’s work can be found in Stirring: A Literary Collection, New Delta Review, Mezzo Cammin,  The Sewanee Review and the Atlanta Review, among others.