Three Poems | by James Pate



Sister Midnight, Queen Midnight, Red Midnight, Red Queen, Carrion Queen, Attic Queen, Sister Twin, Sister Dusk, Sister Eclipse, Sister Arson, Sister Nero, Queen Red, Queen Blank, Queen Tremor, Sister One, Sister Two, Sister of the Velvet Basements, Queen of the Back-broken Chairs, Queen of the Rabid Statuary, Sister of Fortune, Sister of Grace, Sister of Obscurer Elements, Queen Tarot, Queen Serpent, Queen Mourning, Sister Morning:







Beach breeze through their hair, and the beach hum of traffic. The hands of evening in their fingers, along their thighs. A night spent in Hawk Garden. The circumference between gods and volcanic lore. Someone will emerge through these pewter symphonies and speak of lunches nestled near violent seas. Others will join us on the terrace. The flesh of our thoughts among the flesh of those vines. Theologies of great sweat and disbelief. Snakes will coil around our scarlet organs. Tigers will climb from perches and devour us with perfect teeth. Their long warm throats. The music is elsewhere.







Sister Midnight, we’ve waited this long in birth. Sister Midnight, your hallways are high and icy. Your beach is not ours.

And this room is cold and I am cold and the ocean sprays nearby colder still and she had removed the snow globe and he is cracking the ice.

Sister Midnight, this ballad of snow and coats with furred collars. Iggy Pop on the poster on the wall in the basement where some of us have collected ourselves and will continue to collect ourselves.  

Long avenues of ash, Sister Midnight, call out your step.

Tease us tighter, up along our eyes. The reddest pill is welcome. The cornices holding up these Edens of filthy fingers and hard teeth.




James Pate is a poet and fiction writer. His work has appeared in La Petite Zine, Black Warrior Review, Cream City Review, storySouth, Blue Mesa Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Harpur Palate, Juked, and Pembroke Magazine, among other places. He is the author of The Fassbinder Diaries (Civil Coping Mechanisms), and Flowers Among the Carrion (Action Books). His noir novel Speed of Life will be published by Fahrenheit Press in August 2017. He teaches creative writing at Shepherd University, in Shepherdstown, WV.


He may be found at @James__Pate




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