The Practice of Becoming Oneself by Bryce Berkowitz

I think about guilt, at twenty-three, watching you bang
on our dealer’s windows at 4 AM because the baggie ran out.
And how, who I’ve become—a Writing Instructor, a Cedar Lake kayaker,
an appreciator of pre-war motorcycles—is crazy different.
How the poignancy of Maggie Anderson
pops like graffiti on fresh brick; Bazooka Joe in my thirties.
How, last night, a supercell gathered over Fort Kern,
a funnel twisting its lid, and I sipped, as I do, with purpose.
How, the neighborhood black cat rolled at my feet
until, inside, the stray roamed rooms, trying to find its place.
As do I, although I didn’t have those words then.
And how, that same cat rushed back out into the drizzle.
Something outside more comfortable than in.
I’ve felt opposite, living in this world, for as long as I can remember.
And how, I squeezed another lime into another Michelada and drank it down,
watched day turn into night and then called my father.
We talked about me buying a Crosstrek,
Roth IRA’s, and the benefits of frequent flyer miles.
We talk this way because soon I’ll be in Montana.
And the practical nuances of adulthood are easier to discuss
than love and the absence of one another. But in this way,
of course, that’s precisely what we’ve been talking about all along.
Visual art by Alexis Cortez