Mila Cuda


Mila Cuda is the former Youth Poet Laureate of the West Coast. Her debut book, Dishwater Blonde, was published by Penmanship in 2018. Her work has been featured on/in: Button Poetry, Teen Vogue, Rookie, and PBS. She is the lead poetry editor of the feature film Summertime (dir. by Carlos López Estrada), which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Mila is a teaching artist & internationally ranked sapphic slam poet. She is enthusiastic about spiders, and currently majoring in Creative Writing at Wellesley College. Source

Excerpt from "Hey, I’m gay"

& not up for debate.

Lesbian. Libra. Lascivious.

I’m gay as a wool flannel

on a summer day. 

I’m soooOoOoo gay, 


in third grade

my best friend & I

would sneak kisses, peck for peck 

at the playground corner.

Our parents called it confusion. 

Experimentation. Like my desire

could be dissected. Cut down 

to cuticle. Yeahhh, I’m gay

like short, short fingernails.


Like I swallowed my sexuality

til sapphomore year, found it again

staring into Abby’s eyes

at lunchtime, earbuds echoing 

in her collarbones.


I’m gay like I write poetry,

really gay poetry,

examining the blur between

platonic cuddling??? & intimacy?????


I’m gay like middle school.

soft ball AND musical theater.

An unending emo phase.

I’m gay like nose ring

and undercut. Like grandma doesn’t get it,

no matter how many times

she asks about the boys & 

I don’t give her a straight™

answer. 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 back in.

Put my best Femme forward

at the job interview. The Megabus terminal.

My grandpa’s funeral.


I’m gay like wouldn’t be caught dead 

in a straight jacket, would be caught dead though,

mouthful of her chapstick.


We love so hard sometimes

I forget holding hands is a risk. 

I forget each intersection kiss

is a deathwish. But I’m gay 

like privilege, search party and headline. 

Like not everyone is made into martyr. 

But the casualties keep coming. 

& we prefer to live loving &

we prefer to love 

Living. I’m gay like still here,

glitter faced on the subway.

Turning dismal to dazzle. 

Daphnes to [  ]. 

Death into trend. 

Love to the end.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




LGBTQ+ Experience

Love & Relationships

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times