top of page

For Magnus
Anastasia K. Gates

00:00 / 01:18

If he were beastly, he’d be the bengal 

but the bengal is not a beast.  


He is the man who did not marry 

but the hermitage of his garden. 

Buried in the pit of the forest 

where a rabbit from another world, I run. 


There are no houses here 

but the mud where he tills his secret. 


When the onion flowers untie their bonnets 

I see they are his children. 


This is a land of the orphaned 

why we drink the forbidden water— 


an underground that dilates the pupil, 

his hair in the dark, graying as a menagerie. 


He climbs into the heart of his black walnut tree 

and breaks off a branch to lay on my doorstep,  


roasts it in a bed of stone to smoke the fever out— 

the way old men iron their daughter’s underwear 


who have long since been gone. 

I frame my hands upon his jawline,  


sharp enough to cut through bone,  

and say, godfather

Anastasia K. Gates is a writer, poet, and artist from Pennsylvania. Her poem “Blood Orange” received the
shortlist for the inaugural Oxford Poetry Prize and is forthcoming in the ninety fifth volume of Oxford
Poetry. She is a Master of Fine Arts graduate in Poetry from Columbia University in the City of New York.

bottom of page