Turning 30

your love is like a…
nevermind, i am trying to not get full off similes.
i am throwing away the need to get all poetic
and just trying to stand with both feet inside of my body.
easier said than done, but when i look at you,
i want to say what i mean.

no more metaphors either. i don’t have time,
i am busy kneading dough and listening to fresh gossip.
i’m rolling my eyes at sonnets and turning on the rice cooker,
i’m wiping down the counters and memorizing all the familiar sounds:
kids laughing in the street, your tired voice on the phone,
the hum of the gas stove and the flick of the light switch.
i love it all: how the day ends
and i decide to let another one begin.

if you told me this is what my future would be like
when i was 20, i would’ve gotten on a train and waved
dramatically out the window like carmen jones.
all respect to dorothy dandridge,
but thank god i no longer call a screaming fight an honest bouquet
or whatever i was calling love,
back when i wouldn’t have recognized it
even if it was making soup for me in my kitchen.

now i am turning 30 and aware
of how everything is neither gorgeous or horrifying
but simply is in its being. a sky is just a sky.
a rose is just a rose that i am giving to you
because i wanted to think of you
looking at them on your dresser,
and thinking of me, too.

okay, okay, one more poem before we turn the lights off:
brenda, this morning i woke up
with the pale sun whispering through the window
and the night sky of your cowlicks in my mouth.
when you roll over, your pillow reddened cheek
makes me want to go deep into the woods
and build you another house to grow in.

your slowly opening eyes are sweeter than honeycomb.
your quiet good morning sounds like no one who ever lived.

Levi Cain is a gay Black non-binary writer from Boston, MA. Their writing has been published in Arsenal Pulp’s “Queer Little Monsters” anthology, SAND Journal, Room Magazine, Shenandoah Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. Their first chapbook, dogteeth., was published by Ursus Americanus Press in 2020. You can keep up with their work at levicain.wordpress.com.

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