Mediated Experience



The painter wants to say she was the speechless grass 

obscuring the doe’s tangle of ankles, 

but she was not grass. 

                   She’d forced certain realities into being;


for instance, the fawn. She’d refused to paint it

as it was, speckled red

with its mother’s death—alone, 

nursing the air. 


                   Her paint has unmade palpable moments

from which the body should wrench. 


Is this a moral failing?                   Is her art unethical? 


Look at her.


The life-bright doe standing her ground 

in the oceanic grass. 


The fallen wall, war’s end, in the foreground.


Her fawn suckling.




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poet Gabrielle Bates looks into the camera wearing a red floral topOriginally from Birmingham, Alabama, Gabrielle Bates currently lives in Seattle, where she works for Open Books: A Poem Emporium and co-hosts the podcast The Poet Salon. The recipient of support from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the Princeton Poetry Festival, her poems have appeared or will soon in The New Yorker, Poetry MagazinePloughshares, American Poetry Review, and Buzz Words: Poems About Insects (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series), among other journals and anthologies. You can connect with her at or on Twitter (@GabrielleBates).