31 Year Old Lover

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In Kim Addonizio's poem “31-Year Old Lover”, Addonizio introduces two characters, a 31-year old man, and an older woman. Through these characters, Addonizio attempts to portray youthfulness as a godlike state, by contrasting it with the process of becoming old and weary.

At the start of Addonizio's poem, the main character, or the man, is the center of attention. Addonizio characterizes him as “A stick of butter being unwrapped, the milky, lubricious smoothness.....his body is hard, the high tight pectorals, the new dimes of the nipples pressed into his chest, the fanning of the muscle underneath.”(Addonizio 25). Addonizio's description serves as a glorification of the man, along with his youth. She compares him to a “stick of butter being unwrapped”, a stick of butter being hard when first taken out of a fridge. The butter serves to symbolize the mans body, how so hard when young, is ready for the feasting of life. By calling his body “lubricious smoothness”, Addonizio implies that his body is something of wonder, of crave. Her description serves as a means of glorifying this 31 year old man. Glorifying what he and his body stands for, youth. The main character later moves to observe “I almost can't believe that hes human......he is so perfectly made.”(Addonizio 25). It is as if the man is beyond human, “so perfect” that seems as if he is a god, and the youthfulness that he stands for is godlike. However, these feelings of divinity do not remain when she moves to describe his future.

Addonizio's viewpoint shifts 180 degrees as she despicably predicts the man's future. She describes him as one day”[having] a gut, and wiry gray hairs where the soft dark filaments flow out of him, the cream of his skin [loosens] and [separates] slowly.”(Addonizio 25). Addonizio views the mans future as something she hates. Her descriptions of “wiry gray hairs” and “soft dark filaments” serve to portray what the man will eventually become, old, vile and putrid. Addonizio fails...
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