Two Poems by Michelle Brooks

Watching my first porn film at a lifeguard party

During the opening credits, a skinny man who looked
like he might be sick said, We have to defend
our right to free speech, while women in red, white,
and blue bikinis paraded around him carrying huge
flags. There are people who would deny us
our voice, the man continued, until on of the guards
said, Fast forward through this shit, I didn't pay to hear
some old man go on and on. Nobody said anything
when we made it through what small plot there was
into sex so close-up it didn't look like sex. The boys
passed around more beer for everyone, insisting
that the girls had to take a drink if we wanted to stay.
I held the can and didn't open it right away, closed
my eyes and tried to imagine sex that wasn't quite
so vivid, but kept getting distracted by the moaning
on the screen, cries that sounded like people
in pain if you weren't looking too closely.


Kentucky Derby Day at My Aunt's House

Explaining why he took his girlfriend
back after she slept with his best
friend, my cousin said, I'm like Don Coyote - -
I just keep charging after windmills. I
tried not to laugh and resisted the urge
to correct him. Taking another sip
of my Mint Julep, I thought, You're more
like Wylie Coyote, hammered with same
bullshit schemes every time, but I have
been both Don and Wylie enough times
not to make the distinction. The Mint Julip
tastes sweet for a second, then the bitter
kick of bourbon. Each year our family
argues about how to make them, each
year they taste the same. It's a tradition,
my mother says, you can't watch the Derby
without drinking at least one. It doesn't matter
if the mint leaves are bruised or crushed, I can't
drink enough of other things to get the taste
of the drink we all share out of my mouth.

Michelle Brooks