Ross Gay


Ross Gay was born in Youngstown, Ohio. He earned a BA from Lafayette College, an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and a PhD in English from Temple University. He is the author of Bee Holding (2020); Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (2015), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award and a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award; Bringing the Shovel Down (2011); and Against Which (2006). He has also published an essay collection, The Book of Delights (2019). Gay is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens (2014), and with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., River (2014). His honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Cave Canem, and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. He is an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press and is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’. He teaches at Indiana University and in Drew University’s low-residency MFA program. Source

Love, I'm Done with You

You ever wake up with your footie PJs warming

your neck like a noose? Ever upchuck

after a home-cooked meal? Or notice

how the blood on the bottoms of your feet

just won’t seem to go away? Love, it used to be

you could retire your toothbrush for like two or three days and still

I’d push my downy face into your neck. Used to be

I hung on your every word. (Sing! you’d say: and I was a bird.

Freedom! you’d say: and I never really knew what that meant,

but liked the way it rang like a rusty bell.) Used to be. But now

I can tell you your breath stinks and you’re full of shit.

You have more lies about yourself than bodies

beneath your bed. Rooting

for the underdog. Team player. Hook,

line and sinker. Love, you helped design the brick

that built the walls around the castle

in the basement of which is a vault

inside of which is another vault

inside of which . . . you get my point. Your tongue

is made of honey but flicks like a snake’s. Voice

like a bird but everyone’s ears are bleeding.

From the inside your house shines

and shines, but from outside you can see

it’s built from bones. From out here it looks

like a graveyard, and the garden’s

all ash. And besides,

your breath stinks. We’re through.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Love & Relationships

Literary Devices:


exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


the use of irony to mock or convey contempt