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 Diagram, Boston Review, Fugue, Zone 3, The Rumpus, Best New Poets 2017, Seneca Review, The Normal School, 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. Find her @tricknastybates.

"Fifty Years After Apollo 11" was longlisted for the 2019 Peach Gold in Poetry with guest judge Dorothea Lasky.

2 poems

by Sarah Bates

Fifty Years After Apollo 11

I’m sorry but the moon can go fuck itself

I am tired of all its waning

This phase of yellow dust and that

Suddenly the moth’s enormous wings

Are a moon who does whatever it wants

Think of it in terms of junkyards piling up

My body turning green against rusting car parts

Plastic debris to quote Aldrin if we can see

The horizon we want to know what’s beyond

When they landed I saw the shoreline

Of Lake Powell growing smaller above the clouds

I sat on the edge of the Mogollan Rim

In Arizona just to pass time

I’d rather have a dead Mars

Discovering Van Gogh for the first time

The penguins at the museum being carried off

On stretchers I’d like to hold a confused Saturn

Weeping over the six-week-old honeybee

Who needs a moon when you’ve got solar panels

Here are the facts: when the moon gets full

It is that feeling that something is there

Even though it’s not

No the full moon is a call for forgiveness

That which wakes you in the middle of the night

I know this because I put the color blue

On a stick and held it at arm’s length for 180 days

Hoping to hear from the other side

I know this because Buzz never strayed

More than 100 yards

And still he found a forest in between my body

And the suffering Yucca root

How many times must I leave orbit

To get to the beginning of my life

How many moons must I wait up for

So I can worship the fields instead

I know that when the sun and Earth meet

They vanish for Halloween I was a deer

My antlers down ready to charge

Yes, It's Disgusting When You Lose Control

After Frank O'Hara

No matter how much you think you have been going with the flow of Mount Kilauea, you can’t get away from the whale that washed up last week in Thailand. I am on one of those Choose Your Own Adventures with the earth and I just ate eighty garbage bags—in any case, the story begins where she goes to drink water, and me: I wait for endings. The stone crushes the man fleeing Pompeii, fire crosses the desert sky, the Pacific ocean, Highway 93 while a mother grizzly feeds her youngest cub a maple glazed donut. Infinity’s a long ways away. LMNOP is my favorite part of the song, TUV is that sad part, think this will help me learn the alphabet without having to sing it in my head? Sometimes when I am driving, “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman comes on and it gives me a weird feeling. It’s my luck I download a dating app, start bored swiping while on a family vacation, and connect with someone I really enjoy talking to that lives seven hours away. No regrets. I enjoy driving. Did I mention that you’re very pretty? Once, a guy told me it was my fault that he tried to have sex with me after I told him I wasn’t going to have sex with him. It’s your fault that you and your nice lips came over and sat on my couch, he said, underneath something framed that I swear looked just like a maple glazed donut. Don’t get me wrong, they’re two of my favorite things, making out and maple glazed donuts, but my body keeps telling me I’m getting old and a few weeks ago, someone implied I’m supposed to be someone who molds young minds. Does someone who is supposed to mold young minds go over to a stranger’s house on a school night just to make out and dream of donuts? Please meditate on how easily we accept women’s pain as collateral damage in men’s self discovery. No matter how much you think you have been going with the flow, you can’t get away from the winter you watched Jaws 1, 2, and 3 a hundred times. In the past, I felt like my heart was too big, once, a 6’8 firefighter with a handlebar mustache, whose hobbies included french pressed coffee, Crossfit, and Tennessee Whiskey told me I was “to dam cute to be single.” After so long, you get tired of keeping something in your throat that just won’t go down. After so long, you get tired of peeling away your fear by munching on five pound garbage bags. Last night I dreamt of the dying whale reciting its favorite part of the alphabet, and you seven hours away, eating a Kit Kat whole. I am on one of those Choose Your Own Adventures with the earth and I want you to come.