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March 7, 2019 Poetry

Two Poems

Travis Tate

Two Poems photo

First Letter to David

David, some people have bad tattoos.
Below the ankle. Round of the cheek.

Something about permanence. The body must
be reckoned with. Sharp shoulders.

At 18—
I told you this—
I got my first tattoo. Snake with skull.
Villian from my favorite childhood book.

Scars, David, are small reminders.
Like the wrist is for the arm & hand.

I want to be something I’m not sure I will become.

There is a way to write the future.
Scent of uncombed hair, that lavender.

Stars are aligning, David.
In the distance, fog & the belly of a mountain.



On Wanting to Be Loved

Moments before I arrived here, to you,
I was sleeping. On my back. Face to the
ceiling of my crooked apartment. Your eyes

have this thing. I’m not sure what it is. It looks
like you may be wearing eyeliner. Here I go again,
falling in love with anyone I meet. It’s curious.

I played this game earlier this week.
It was called “imaginary bf” & I’m quite good at it.

First, you think of the name of a pretend boyfriend. It has
to be a good name. A name you want to look at when
light is creeping across his face. Moon. Or Sun. Or glow of a camera.

Then, you make up scenarios where it would hard to love
him. But in the end, you decide to love him.

This conversation is always to a friend.
After this, you must imagine his greeting.
His usual one. For you.

When that feeling right
above the pelvis hits.

He meets your friends.
What does he say?
All good things.
All the right things.

You dream up two kids.
Papa. Baba. Dad. Paws.
All the names they’ll call
to you when you’re no
doubt sleeping.

He dies before you do.
& you mourn him.
You think of heaven
for the first time
in 35 years.



image: Doug Paul Case