Makena Metz

The Desert

(listen to the poem, read by the author)

Pain is a rattlesnake. Changing colors,
shedding its skin, it grows and it shrinks, 

blends into the background. It stares
with poison eyes, striping brown and black 

diamonds across its back. A warning.
Pain is a warning. It hisses at me 

when I put a foot on the gas. It rattles
its tail when I walk more than four miles 

in a day. Its fangs bite into me when I overdo
exercise at PT. Snakes like the heat, 

so I use ice. Snakes like to coil, so I stretch
flesh out. Snakes like to feed, so I toughen 

my skin. My muscle grows like an egg.
Snakes hear hatching. I hear a crack.

“The Desert” was originally published by PearTree Press, The Literary Hatchet #30, 2023 (reprinted with permission). 

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About the Author

Makena Metz is an LA native who writes for the page, screen, and stage. She has a MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English from Chapman University’s dual degree program. Makena is a proud member of DGA, ASCAP, WIA, Maestra, and the SCL. Find her work on Coverfly, NPX, and follow her @makenametz on Tiktok, IG, FB, Twitter, and check out