Why do I still answer when you call? By Nia KB

Why do I still answer when you call?

While deleting snapchat I came across a glimpse
of us months ago hiking
in Arlington; SZA’s CTRL a silhouette
for sweltering heat that fried our faces
You had those goofy pink shades on and your bony
body lie against my wrinkled white tee
I was looking down at your face
watching you effortlessly project pretty
wondering what I did to deserve such
a Goddess. I zoomed closer to highlight
myself let the lie “I’m cute as hell”
roll like water off my tongue. I found myself
saving this video, even almost sending it
to you, but instead let it live in my phone for another
forever I can’t yet erase that color of time
from my mind can’t yet fathom him being
the warm body behind you to push against
can’t tell myself enough you fucked up, she’s gone
until The Weekend doesn’t make me
crack a dorky smile but then you call
for a kind of comfort I never provided
like a virus, I attack the opportunity
to let love in. You hear in my voice that I’m drinking
then the phone screen’s darkness fills
even when you hang up I have pictures
videos that do the best they can
to stray away my empty

By Nia KB


Nia KB (they/them) is a Black queer nonbinary poet, editor, and educator. They are the recipient of fellowships and residencies from Lambda Literary, The Speakeasy Project, and UTSA’s African American Literatures and Cultures Institute. Their poetry appears or is forthcoming in Eleven40Seven, Z Publishing, Pamplemousse, Brown State of Mind, Lighthouse Literary, and elsewhere. When they’re not blessing stages or writing pages, they serve as Associate Poetry Editor for Fields Magazine, Production Assistant for the web series Gentrified, Curator/Host of the reading series Austin Interfaces, and Teaching Artist for Austin Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing Program. If you got this far, they think you should follow them on twitter and instagram at nia_kb.

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