Spell to Elicit Heterosexual Urges


By Ben Kline

after eating half a pizza sprinkled with chopped
salamander tail and basil soaked with cider vinegar
during a Friday night at your best friend’s house
after her parents leave after you’ve crimped her hair
after she gets on the phone with her 400m boyfriend
with the edible calves whose finishing his shift at
Burger King after she wraps the cord around her arm
like a green snake like a tether to buoy against moorless
tides of her desire floating away and back back and away

you must tiptoe alone to her closet to search
her stacked boxes of shoes to find her nicest black heels
because every city girl has two pair for weddings and funerals
for pointing at Jesus after calling out to his father
and out of his name after all the preacher calls evil
is revealed differently you must take a left one from
its box and wipe it clean with your shirt tail with attention
to the sheathed wood shank to the glistening leather breast
after you make sure you locked the door make sure
you hear her doing most of the talking sure she
isn’t trying to keep you by her side as you wedge
her desk chair under the door knob and return
to the shoe to its inviting shine to its power that comes
from centuries of men from men supporting men
with numbers in their banks and that control
they maintain despite being outnumbered
and in that moment you must undo all that

must set that shoe in your open palm must close
your eyes must lick from the vamp to the tip end
of the heel where all the hot coiling in your belly
will explode will undo old knowing will free
your true self again and again and again
Hailing from the farm valleys of West Appalachia, Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, toiling away on his full-length manuscript Twang, while drinking just the right amount of bourbon, but more coffee than seems wise. His work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Rappahannock Review, Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts, Riggwelter, The Mantle, Ghost City Review, apt, ImageOutWrite Vol. 7, The Offing, Impossible Archetype, Ink & Nebula, The Matador Review and many more. You can read more on his tumblr.