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Round white mushrooms emerge in clusters overnight,
soil scattered across their brows
like Catholics bearing ash. It’s taken me

almost a decade to admit it: I miss. I’ve missed
feeding all my thoughts through that revolving blade
so thin it could only be felt.

I’ve missed that arrowing of the—I
almost said soul—But it was the mind,
mostly, wasn’t it, that winnowed?

I knew God listened. And I knew where to aim.
All the time, every second. I lacked
but with aim.



Gabrielle Bates co-hosts the podcast The Poet Salon. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker and Ploughshares, and her debut collection, Judas Goat, is forthcoming from Tin House.




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