KB Brookins


KB Brookins is from Stop Six, Fort Worth, Texas. They are a Black queer nonbinary poet, educator, organizer, and lover of most plants/people. They want to be your friend as well as your reminder to think in abundance. They have words published in Cincinnati Review, The Offing, ANMLY, and other equally pretty places. Their chapbook How To Identify Yourself with a Wound (Kallisto Gaia Press, 2022) won the 2021 Saguaro Poetry Prize. It was written with support from workshops with Lambda Literary, In Surreal Life, The Watering Hole, The Hurston/Wright Foundation, The Speakeasy Project, and Winter Tangerine. They are currently a PEN America Emerging Writers fellow and an African American Leadership Institute - Austin fellow. They’ve founded and led many initiatives such as Interfaces and Embrace Austin but currently are a student in the University of Texas at Austin’s Masters in Social Work program. Follow them on twitter or instagram at @earthtokb and access their exclusive teaching, writing, and zine content on patreon. They run a newsletter called Out of This World. They live in Austin, TX where they are writing books and trying their best. Source

Pre-Top Surgery Pantoum

I was never taught to grieve unwanted attachments.

What do you do when your body becomes distant?

Therapists tell me it’s only a side-effect of trauma —

craving constriction & feeling every breath I take.


Love is not the same thing as becoming distant.

It is not a band-aid for fleshly problems. Surgeons

tell me I need a diagnosis for actions I take

to turn into someone I recognize in mirrors.


I lie my chance of sensation in the hands of a surgeon;

tell him the measurements of my lifelong problems.

Flesh lies to my face, even after I clean my mirror

& look at augmented-me for the last time.


To be alive is to be scarred & riddled with problems.

To be dead is to give up ideas for birth. Google says

that every cell in my body has a finite span of time

except the mind; I’ll always grieve unwanted attachments.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Body & Body Image

LGBTQ+ Experience

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:


a Malay verse form, imitated in French and English, consisting of quotations with an abab rhyme scheme linked by repeated lines

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered