KB Brookins
& Somehow, Men Are Nicer to Me Now

They say “hey boss” at me in restaurants. They hand me the check,

ask me about the game of Who vs Cares, give me tips

about how to talk to the woman tangential from the bar’s

sticky marble. I wonder what about me makes them chipper & chatting thinly about interestless shit. Is it chestlessness? The disappearance of my hourglass figure? The chin hair, stubby & manly as livers drowning under kegs of cheap craft beer? They tell me


not to drink fruity shit tonight. Like months ago,

when I couldn’t get any investment in my breath, didn’t happen.

Like everything I’ve lived through isn’t etched in the beard

they tell me to marinate in oils. It’ll grow back, bro. Every man

treats me like I’m living now. Somehow, when this life is over,

I will have lived both sides of the offensive line—throw me

the ball, fam. I’ll be sure to run into a teammate, tell them how men

are the silliest thing since touchdowns were invented.



Found In Volume 51, No. 02
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  • KB Brookins
KB Brookins
About the Author

KB is a Black trans poet and object in the sky. They are the author of How To Identify Yourself with a Wound (Kallisto Gaia Press, 2022) and Freedom House (Deep Vellum Publishing, 2023). Follow them online at @earthtokb.