dogteeth. by Levi Cain
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Ursus Americanus Press is proud to present Levi Cain’s dogteeth. Levi Cain is a gay Black writer from Boston, an Aries moon, and a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee. Their work can be found in Vagabond City Lit, Lunch Ticket, The Thought Erotic, and elsewhere.
Levi Cain's dogteeth. is a meditative awakening from the deeply integrated maxims of Catholic upbringing into a radical corpus of queerness, race, and gender identity. Cain's poems are a rectification of past harms and future lives made stable by the poet's own process of trauma. Cain's language is a pendulum of celebration and lamentation, and swinging between the two, a blade, to sever the past, to carve new meanings. dogteeth. is a Mass for the oppressed, the marginalized, the forgotten, the broken, the subjugated; it is a room where Cain sloughs the skin of their old name and looks brightly upon their truth.
from "I Forgive the Trespasses I Made Against Myself"
i forgive myself
for the incessant scouring of my body
the callous examination of flesh
every hour. all apologies to myself
for the alienation of the body,
for the hunger,
for naming it as something other
than a gift, that which allows me
to squat among the tall wet grass
in the thick august heat, to kiss,
to be kissed. i will speak to myself
in loving tones. i will wink
at my face in all the mirrors
in the hallway, tell myself
how blessed it is to have
come scrabbling, zombie-like,
from a grave i dug
when i could not fathom a future
of wanting to carry myself
as a loved one in my own heart.