The Blood Moon Disappoints Us

By Katherine Gibbel

To:                 <undisclosed recipients>

Subject:         The Blood Moon Disappoints Us

 

the stars don’t know about you

>but I do and that makes me as glad as the sky

 

I want to tell you about this perfect number

>28 whose factors sum up to her worth

 

fog shrouded the eclipse—but at night in states

>far from each other we watched it like a compact

>>slightly warm in our hands

 

all the roads collapsed

>I heard your quick breath in your attic room

>>almost saw your pale

 

face grow paler round the edges

>not a moon just wet paper’s

>>slight jaundice drying out

 

in my room there was a white boar

>a man woven in tapestry

>>a few woolly lambs bleating the word

 

susurration and so I knew you were filling

>the attic with cold sounds

 

we daughters of time with long quiet hands

>whose mother’s sleight grows slighter

>>she is not time she was on time

 

writes us postcards before arriving

>at her destination

 

we orbit her in asymmetric loops

>overcorrect for her rotations—explained

 

orders of operation while your purple vinyl

>collapsed under the fourth snow

 

time’s mother whose memory loss

>exonerates her from recovering alcoholics

>whispers it’s in the blood

 

I still have that pic saved somewhere

>your face below the plastic light

 

your skull a rate-limiting factor

>not a metaphor just a fact

>>a Sierpinski triangle of light caught

>>>in the wrinkle of your forehead

 

a lunar month of fractals and octahedrons

>fake geodes—other half-known things

 

I don’t want to fold your mind like crisp paper

>I hate beautiful things with no substance

 

but I want to empty you of this panicked terrible breath

Before the Cock Crowed

By Katherine Gibbel

To:                 <undisclosed recipients>

Subject:         Before the Cock Crowed

 

we sent each other three pics—this

>is where I’m at but I don’t expect you

>>to meet me  the brown cow

 

in your neighbor’s farm watches

>your phone not the fog behind her—my new

>>favorite typo and a crane lifts the sunset

 

down into the river—now that work’s

 

over night begins in earnest with quiet clanging

>the dark stories we never bothered

>>to read—tonight I make the onions cry

 

a little harder thinking about you frying blossoms

>in egg and oil but the days get cold—colder

 

in the middle of the Pantone lake

>that bony knuckled island—our shorts

>>down to our knees—gooseflesh

>>>everywhere—I run out of things to say

>>>>but the view is good—your face

 

god—your face in sharp relief against thin pines and mountains

>some sort of pink flesh Rushmore

 

but your eyes remain

>two loud pieces of glass

>>with honeybees suspended inside

 

I watch you like a window

>I open I close I don’t go anywhere

 

it’s the opacity I can’t parse

>the 254 words I learn to speak around you

Katherine Gibbel grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Her poems, essays, and interviews have been published in or are forthcoming from The Bennington Review, The Rumpus, Broadly, and Dialogist. She lives in Iowa City, where she's finishing her MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.