Sarah Bates


I’m watching the second episode of Planet Earth when he finally messages back, earthy colors are great! This is the part in early spring where the hatchling emerges, vulnerable. This is the part where the Himalayan snow leopard adapts its body and its behavior in order to survive. My mother keeps telling me to download a dating app in order to join the others at sea. I can’t hear her over the snakes missing their chance, more baby iguanas finding their way onto the flat ground. Because I, too, want a little corner of Madagascar to myself. I, too, want to be like everyone else at 27 who seems to be getting on with it. Part of the reason why I love the color blue is because it is always letting our bodies go towards the way of our fears. Like men studying rats, bees gathering the tops of mulberry trees in order to dispose of them. Last night I allowed the ants to teach me something new about the waxing gibbous, a shadowy peace asserting itself like a person. I’ve been trying to figure out the color of the car while we were in it, the sound of you balancing my body on top the metal, the rust, a beating heart beside a brown paper bag. I never told you how I had to stop in the middle of Highway 56 to see the dead coyote in the gutter, to bury its milk jaw, its gun-broke hip joint. I knew you had never seen pictures of the Blue Ridge in October, the baby iguana outrunning a racer for the second time. I knew that in the last five minutes, the seeds would disperse and the danger would be gone. The pressure of growth is in every part of every living thing.

Sarah Bates has an MFA in Poetry from Northern Michigan University and currently teaches at Southern Utah University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Fugue, 45th Parallel, The Rumpus, Meridian, Best New Poets 2017, American Literary Review, Seneca Review, The Normal School, Rattle, RHINO, and Hotel Amerika, among others. Her manuscript, O-Six, was a finalist in the 2018 Saturnalia Poetry Book Prize. Her manuscript, Tender, was a finalist in the 2018 Bateau Press Chapbook contest.