travis tate

2021, Poetry

THE ACTION OF BIRDS

There is a weak sense of escape in all this. Potential
resting its hand on my thigh, where likely, I’m giggling

like a small child, my hair tightly curled, skin soft.

There is a mission, I’m talking really elemental, that
brings you here. I can’t help it. & if I could, I wouldn’t

stop the action of the birds, ripe with wings, their ancient

calls mimicking the bells the gods rang, signaling to the
each other of their first triumphs. I’m deep within

the chasm, licking my own arm— the dark only
lingers, never stays anymore. I wait for departure.

That’s all we can do, you in front of a mirror looking
back & into a future— forward to ameliorate the

perfume of your life, of my life, of the birds, hanging
silently & black, watching where we’ll end up.


travis tate is a queer, black playwright, poet and performer from Austin, Texas. Their poetry has appeared in Borderlands:Texas Poetry Review, Underblong, Mr. Ma’am, apt, and Cosmonaut Avenue among other journals. Their debut poetry collection, MAIDEN, was published on V.A. Press in June 2020. They earned an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. You can find more about them here.