Gabrielle Bates


Gabrielle Bates is the author of the poetry collection Judas Goat (Tin House, 2023), a New York Times Book Review 'The Shortlist' pick and a Chicago Review of Books 'must-read' book of 2023. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Bates currently lives in Seattle, where she works for Open Books: A Poem Emporium and co-hosts the podcast The Poet Salon. A Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship finalist, her work has been featured in the New Yorker, Poem-a-Day, Ploughshares, The Slowdown show, and elsewhere. She has served as visiting faculty for a variety of universities, arts organizations, and museums, including the University of Washington Rome Center and the Tin House Writers' Workshops. Source


My father and I sit at a sushi bar in my new city

sampling three different kinds of salmon nigiri.


He tells me about a great funeral speech

he recently heard a son give for his father.


The speech was structured around regrets

everyone assumed the father didn’t have,


interspersed with hilarious stories involving boys

crashing the family van and fishing mishaps.


The ivory salmon is pale and impossibly soft.

The sliver of steelhead, orange enough


to pretend it’s salmon. How else to say it.

I am my father’s only child, and he is my mother.


We dip our chopsticks into a horseradish paste

dyed green and called wasabi. I know his regrets.


I could list them. But instead at his funeral

I will talk if I can talk about nights like this,


how good it felt just to be next to him,

to be the closest thing he had.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Death & Loss



Literary Devices:


two lines of verse, usually in the same meter and joined by rhyme, that form a unit

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)