imitate / interface

             smearing across yr notice          DMs    yield pheromones & impulse
gutsy want         for to be           a damp spot on the floor           by yr hand         I fluster
I will   yr lipstick                          smear onto my lipstick     
I touch my thigh                         & waxing affection                     I over
share a dream in which                         I had  a  fantasy
held      by ghosts                      posturing as mystics
fraught                I mimic            their thirst
for ecstasy I commune              with my inbox               yes        I am seeking
adult friendship              but won’t respond        in this fantasy
my morph         a hot haunch                my crop            top unraveling
& then wake                 thumb to vermilion border
in a swing of sad                      salty bedclothes            stay salty
each cowlick  more drastic the tarot  says         the outlook
sleepless          I order glasses  with digital       block  not daylight        but blue or other



supplication: early years

When Ally and I are in the fifth grade we ask Mr. and
Mrs. Bradley, our Sunday school teachers, to teach us
how to tie ties. Mrs. Bradley says it’s never too early to
start learning, winks at Mr. Bradley. Ally and I both
know our verses for the week. The next Sunday they
make good, bring a tie for each of us. I’m 11 and always
trying to impress Kelly, even though she’s not there,
and refuse to take the Razorback tie. Kelly’s new from
Tennessee. I’m a Vols fan for a year.
At home I practice with my dad’s burgundy tie, which
doubled for Easter and funerals. Wide on right, slim on
left. Wide over small, to the left.
Back to school shopping for sixth grade, I’m still too
small to shop in the junior’s section of Kohl’s. I sift
through the racks of sequin and graphic tees, when I
find a white button top with capped sleeves
accompanied by a plaid tie with a big jeweled clip
holding together the ends. I’m too excited to wait to
wear it on the first day, and wear it at open house. Kelly
says, why are you wearing a tie, you look ugly, like a
boy. Runs off to her new friends, tells everyone I’m an
ugly boy. Later that night at the refreshment table,
Nick’s dad comes over, he’s tall and I’ve been crying.
He’s close enough I can feel his warmth. He says, you
have beautiful eyes. Calls me Twiggy.
I’m reminded of the part of the church service when
someone’s dad gets up in front of the congregation and
apologizes to everyone for cheating on his wife. She’s
always rigid in the front pew, the preacher’s arm
around her. After the dad makes his admittance the
preacher releases the clip-on mic from his jacket, asks
into it if the wife forgives him; holds the mic to her. I
can’t hear if she nods from where I’m sitting, but the
song-leader enters, singing, from the lobby. Everyone’s
The summer before eighth grade Ally’s mom, Tasha, a
woman close enough to be an aunt, cuts my hair. I
show her a picture of Keira Knightley sporting a pixie
cut. Tasha and my mother make me promise to always
wear makeup. When I do, she ties my hair back into a
loose ponytail; cuts.
I don’t wear the tie again for two years. For the first
time I’m taller than most of the girls in my grade. All
of the football boys in Jr. High dress up for game days.
Their father’s ties a little too fat. The seams of their
shirtsleeves, off the shoulders. It’s not a game day, and
I’m B-string girls’ basketball, but I bring my tie to
school in my gym bag. Put it on in a bathroom stall first
thing. In science, my last class of the day, Ms. Englert
stops the lesson to tell me my tie’s too short. That I’ve
done it all wrong.

TR Brady is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Adroit Journal, Tin House Online, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, Pleiades, and Denver Quarterly.