“2:00 AM” by Gabrielle Bates

Cheaters, ghost crabs, children of divorce—
this is our truest hour. Not just because
it’s always dark, though that does help, darkness,
protecting our pale and fragile shells,
its silent gaping mouth so much bigger
than the bedroom window pane, always open,
never calling us close. Before the street
sweepers take the avenues, before the scaffolders
begin their dawnlight shifts. After the alcoholic
women have passed out in their slips,
and your father has Prozac-ed himself to sleep
wherever he lives now.

At 2:00 am, the world is ours to scavenge
no matter the season. There is always carrion,
for we are constant decay: Will I ever
be enough? Why do I hurt
so profoundly? Who
could fix us, and how soon?
We eat
and we eat and we eat. One hour,

we hold it close, and it’s enough.

Gabrielle Bates is a writer and visual artist originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Her work has appeared in the New YorkerPoetry Magazine, Virginia Quarterly ReviewNew England ReviewjubilatGulf CoastMississippi ReviewBlack Warrior Review, the Best of the Net anthology, and BAX: Best American Experimental Writing, and her poetry comics have been featured internationally in a variety of exhibitions, festivals, and conferences. Formerly the managing editor of the Seattle Review and a contributing editor for Poetry Northwest, Gabrielle currently serves as the Social Media Manager of Open Books: A Poem Emporium, a contributing editor for Bull City Press, and a University of Washington teaching fellow. She also volunteers as a poetry mentor through the Adroit teen mentorship program and teaches occasionally as a spotlight author through Seattle’s Writers in the Schools (WITS). With Luther Hughes and Dujie Tahat, she cohosts podcast The Poet Salon. Find her on twitter @GabrielleBates.

Image: “Dad Fly Forever” by ©Chuck Miller

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