Canyon, a Reflection

Kaitlyn McNab





I’m up late

trying to read a book

that feels more like a haunted Victorian hand mirror

reflecting my ghosts back at me


There’s a photo taken by a boy I’m in love with

stuck between the pages as my bookmark,

my version of a dried rose


The photo is of a canyon

with the sun beaming straight into the camera, God rays peeking over the crags


It’s a portal

(sort of)

a love letter

like the sky always is


It’s a manifestation

an altar at which I drop on bended knees


the same bended knees I fantasize sinking into carpet or hardwood or mattress

as I take the boy

the photographer,

the artist,

this manic dream of mine,

into my mouth.


This photo stuck between these words

that reveal parts of myself

I’ve tried to exorcise

is a ritual —

a way of shooting my hopes and potential and worth

through a photograph of the sky and its opposite, a jagged vessel,

and hoping it reaches God somehow.

Hoping it reaches the star that shines the brightest in the sky

Hoping it reaches someone

who hears my prayers for love


For tenderness

For intimacy

and celebration


For those fingers that held the camera

to brush my skin and press down on my shutter,

so that my bones will click into place

and make the same sound as a camera

in a quiet canyon in the middle of the day,

with God rays peeking out of my mouth

from behind the crags

of my teeth.

Author Bio

Kaitlyn McNab is a multimedia storyteller. She holds a BA from New York University with a self-designed major titled ‘How to Tell Stories While Black.’ You can find her on Twitter @kaitmcnab, or visit her website to read more of her work, previously published in Teen Vogue, Allure, and EBONY.