“Hey, I’m gay” by Mila Cuda


I’m gay

And not up for date

I’m gay, lesbian, libra, lascivious

I’m gay as a wool flannel on a summer day 

I’m so gay 


In third grade

My best friend and I would sneak kisses

Peck for peck

At the playground corner

Our parents called it 



Like my desire could be dissected

Cut down to cuticle


I’m gay like short, short finger nails

I’m gay like I swallowed my sexuality till sophomore year

Found it again staring into Abby’s eyes at lunch time

Earbuds echoing in her collar bones


I’m gay like I write poetry

Really gay poetry

Examining the blurb between platonic cuddling and intimacy

I’m gay like middle school

Softball AND musical theater

An unending emo phase


I’m gay like turtlenecks and dodging texts

Like nose ring and undercut

Like everyone’s a little eager to reduce me down to trend

I mean I get it

Flannel goes out of season

But some of y’all

Would rather a showercurtain than a bowtie 

Than a necklace with my girlfriend’s name

But I still sport button-ups at all my family holiday parties

Hoping the collar will cover my love’s letters

Cause I’m gay like grandma doesn’t know yet

No matter how many times she asks about the boys 

And I don’t give her a straight answer

She says the reason I haven’t met someone yet 

Is cause I go to a women’s college

And the love almost leaps from my lips


I’m gay like almost

Like lips

Like the closet is cracked open

But some days I have to lock myself in

Put my best femme forward 

At the job interview

The megabus terminal

My grandpa’s funeral


I’m gay

Like everytime I call myself gay

The men in my life take it upon themselves 

To amend, say “Well, what about Ben? What was that then?”

I’m gay like my only straight friend just came out

Said she would’ve known sooner

If not for the folks always photoshopping her wedding pictures

And I’m gay like my girlfriends can build heaven with her left hand

I’m the closet she comes to touching religion

I’m gay like wouldn’t be caught dead in the straight jacket

Would be caught dead, though

Mouth full of her chapstick left lingering with saltwater, saliva

We love so hard sometimes

I forgot holding hands is a risk

I forgot each intersection kiss is a death wish

But I’m gay like privilege

Search party and headline

Like not everyone is made into marauder

Like not every casket comes with a feature film full of rainbow flags

But the casualties keep coming

And we prefer to live, loving

We prefer to love, living


And I’m gay like

Still here

Singing the mountain’s goats 

Glitter faced on the subway

Turning dismal to dazzle

Daphnes to dykes

Death into trend

Love to the end