The Homie Does the Robot to Fiona Apple’s ‘Fetch the Bolt Cutters’

by Levi Cain

me + the homie + the homie’s homie
spitting outside, talking shit, pass licked
joint from pocket to waiting hand—you know,
real boys’ shit, real shining and slick-mouthed
and gleaming with sweat, stretching out
jabs until they taffy up in the heat,
you know, what i meant
to inherit myself before girlhood
stole in like a jacob in the night. give me
the aftermath of boyishness gone
soft and sogging in the summer,
nicotine hiding on our cupids’ bows,
the smell of beer and coconut water a footnote.
we cast off too-big sweatshirts,
laugh so loud that the mother across
the street jumps, scrawl our names onto
anything but notebooks. everything is
so glimmering and new. sometimes i slap
my palm against a man’s and feel
my heart shrink three sizes, the skin on
of my neck prickling the way
it does when i sashay home after
midnight or when i am caught
unawares with a trembling lip.
here, a concept of a future
i could not begin to dream
of as a child: gender is fucking over,
it’s so yesterday, it’s old news. we flick
ash and tuck tags into the back
of our shirts, split fruit three ways
and warn each other of seeds. we do
the robot to fiona apple. we look to
our we-ness and deem it crisp,
keep it clean, call it by its own name.


Levi Cain is a gay Black writer from Boston, MA. Their work has been shortlisted for Brain Mill Press’ 2019 National Poetry Month contest, as well as nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Their first chapbook, dogteeth, is available from Ursus Americanus Press. You can follow them on Twitter and Instagram @honestlyliketbh.

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