I am not always hypervigilant
about killing bugs when they tangle
in my locs. I fart without turning
the other way so the smell is hostage
under the sheets while my partner sleeps.
I’ve done unspeakable things & here I am,
telling you so you can get on with it. I cheated
on a test. I cheated on a partner & talked
about her worse when she left. I watched a friend
be berated by homophobes & did nothing
but walk him home, in silence. I’ve been so silent
you could scream all year & it wouldn’t be enough
to fill the blank spaces. On days where my limbs
are glued to the bed like stars in the sky,
I scroll until my eyes are tired
of dog pics & tragedies. Sometimes,
I don’t repost the graphic with the hashtag.
Most times, I care less & less about the action plan
for freedom. You don’t have to comment;
you don’t have to convince the police.
They are already sending dogs for me. You don’t
have to justify bypassing another mother’s tears
for a formality — no they should’ve complied
needed. This is me coming clean. This is me,
turning my wrists to the whitest part for optimum
cuffing. Can you resist the urge to kill me?
KB Brookins (also known as KB) is a Black/queer/transmasculine poet, essayist, and cultural worker from Fort Worth, Texas. Their writing is published in Academy of American Poets, Huffington Post, American Poetry Review, Teen Vogue, Electric Literature, Okayplayer, Oxford American, and elsewhere. KB is the author of How To Identify Yourself with a Wound (Kallisto Gaia Press, 2022), a chapbook selected by ire’ne laura silva as winner of the Saguaro Poetry Prize. They have earned fellowships from PEN America, Broadway Advocacy Coalition, Lambda Literary, and The Watering Hole among others.