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War by travis tate

Gladiator fallen, light gathering in the palm of trees.

I’m sullen, silk soft to the touch. But my feet are so

rough. From trailing this wicked pavement of life.

I have to admit I don’t know the form.

There is a flower, there are stones.

Constantly made & remade.

Is it too much to wish for something with words?

I mention war. I mean fighting off this ink in the ribs.

Axe, metal, patience, steel wool, computer screen.

There is a candle lit. In a room.

I am not in. Desperate for air.

One delicate feature of life, oft locked away from memory,

the little moments that breach the half dawning room,

where we are tender to ourselves, where war has been fought,

left the ruins where they need be. I have been there & o, lord,

I don’t want to go back.


TRAVIS TATE is a queer, black playwright, poet and performer from Austin, Texas. Their poetry has appeared in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Underblong, apt and Cosmonaut Avenue, among other journals. Maiden, their debut poetry collection, is out on Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. They earned an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. You can find more about them at


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