For Reasons Unknown 

Murky lake on the edge of a Midwest
sunset, but there are knives on the table
for cutting the hotdogs into little discs so they can
better hide within the beans. If you asked me
what it looked like to kiss a boy for the first
time, I’d say watch an orange juicing machine
at work, the rolling peel between the wheels
until the fallout lends puddles to the lakebed
behind my bottom teeth. Don’t you dare
tell my brothers about this,
and I continued.

Hey, what if I cut that boat
loose? Why are the dreamy heads
cast onto female bodies while boys try to slip hands
down the back of jeans? Let’s say he leaned his head
on my shoulder and asked me what I thought about
the fish swimming beneath us. Let’s say he cut a rope
of red vine from his pocket and offered it. Let’s say he
had headphones and put them on my ears and said,

Hey, listen. Listen so I can see how you listen. So I can
look at how you like a song or find it just okay.


Brandi M. Spaethe received her MFA in poetry from Fresno State where she worked for The Normal School and The Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in CRATE, Off the Rocks: An Anthology of GLBT Writing, American Athenaeum, and BLOOM, to name a few. Her chapbook, To You Who Wants In, was released in December 2012. Brandi received the 2012 C.G. Hanzlicek Poetry Writing Fellowship and was a poetry fellow in the 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation's Emerging Writer's Retreat. She is the program associate at Poets & Writers' California Office and teaches at California State University, Los Angeles.