Two Poems by Rob Colgate


After Merwin

We are saying goodbye
to the boys we will
never see again.
We are running into walls
with our mouths full
of a shame that reeks
of disorganization.
We are losing our touch:
the driving over to visit,
the visiting, how it droops,
pales, colors leaking out
in a slurry from bodies
gone too soft, and now
He hates this grey skin,
every story we tell him,
every story we try telling
to an audience
who does not
understand revelation—
We are sick. We are open
but the door
is very heavy.
Our bodies are confused
as to how to keep breathing
the same air we have always
The air that now does not fit,
the small compartments
unsure of how to fill.
Look at me. Is it like this?
Am I surviving now?
Does my biology persist?
Ribcage, you must maintain
your shape. We cannot let you
bend as if luck is the flow
of your marrow.
We must be as doves
and intend grace
in each platonic departure.


I’m sorry
I can’t stop
mailing you letters

with my teeth
in the envelopes

I’m sorry
every morning
you wake up

and I’ve pissed
all over your apartment
I’m sorry

that my liability
from every orifice

and your soft
burns off

I’m sorry
I’m like this
I’m sorry

I’m like this
and I’m sorry
I’m like this

Rob Colgate is a Filipino-American poet from Evanston, IL. He holds a degree in psychology from Yale University and is currently pursuing his MFA in poetry with the New Writers Project at UT Austin. His work is featured in Best New Poets 2020; his first chapbook, So Dark the Gap, was published by Tammy in March 2020 and won the 2020 ReadsRainbow Prize for poetry.
twitter: @robcolgate
insta: @swing.sets