Charles Theonia
16 poems
Under the damp canopies of Ditmas Park / I turn my head up to the lilacs heavy / with rainwater and their delicate smell. / I’m carrying rose quartz in my hip pocket / so I can feel *embodied*. The last time / I saw you it was summer and our clothes / stuck to us. Now it’s spring, when the air / begins to warm and wetten, and a physical / existence begins to feel at least possible again. / Lately, all my friends want to talk / about masculinity, which is tempting / to reject altogether, / like, I’m supposed to be it / but have no interest in its restriction, / its dull refusal of excess. / Still I could just be bitter / because everybody seems to think / I’m some strange, wispy butch / who forgot to stop painting her nails. / / We group-text selfies for affirmation. / Kai’s reflection startles / after a dramatic haircut and they’re sick / of everybody projecting boi-ness / onto them, and will this make it worse? /             – o bb / let’s never care – / /             – 💖 / I’m here to meet Paco / in the empty apartment / we’ll live in together. / They say they’re in search / of a masculine gentleness. / The super guided them here / over the phone to a hidden key / You will be in a strange hallway / you will turn completely / past the gilded lobby / there will appear before you / a door, reach up with your fingers / and feel. I decide to allow / for complexity. / / It’s my familiar way: leaving / the building and thinking of you / in Buenos Aires I realize I don’t want / to ask when you’re coming home / or where home will be for fear / of becoming expectant. / / The wetness of spring / is light and weight at once; / the blades of grass are bent / by gleaming beads of rain. / I walk by a bunch of teenage boys / leaving a track meet, loud, sharp and salty / and as we pass, one of their hands / brushes mine. I am always / expectant anyway.