Magical Kingdom

Instagram has made its way
into my dreams

I suppose it’s how looking
becomes seeing

I dreamt Elsa broke
her foot but walked

I dreamt you broke
my heart again

In my dreams you call
me boring so often

I don’t know if it’s a word
you said or only one I heard

Imagine the underworld
as a dark nightclub

where one could take a tab
or a joke the wrong way

The ewe’s foot has scald
but the milk stays cold

I mishear a mishap
I misspeak I miss you

I don’t think birds
would be good at Twitter

Woolf writes about a young man Orlando
who—overnight—becomes a woman

Gender is a drag and he dreams
himself into her but here in this world

Orlando is a city where forty-nine
Latinx queer people are shot, killed

Grief and platitudes fill my newsfeed
a dizzying, looped chorus of sorrow

Kathleen tells me to scatter her ashes
in the Small World ride to shut it down for a day

I think about the silver studs
in the peachy plug of James’ ears

I don’t think there are any words
that can fit the hole death holds open

the way an earring glints
and keeps his skin from closing up

A senator wants to put a gun in my uterus
and Woolf was Islamophobic

My whiteness is a condemned house
others are renting out, dying in

I know I shouldn’t bank
my pride with a corporation

Nothing is perfect, least of all love
so I promise to try harder

The bravest among us edit
pronouns and grammars: spell themselves

In Latin “disco” means “I learn”
In the end we all cross

the river to the nightclub
drawn by a wiseman in a hoodie

For all its smallness
the world terrifies us

In my dreams I move on
a new bereft: wake swearing

Burying my thumbs in gesture
Brushing my teeth with daylight

To avoid repeating
the same smarmy song

in this small boat
in the dark

Trying to make the morning after
less stale less stifled more lit

like a pyre
or a candle or a club


Katherine Gibbel was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her writing has been published in or is forthcoming from The Invisible BearBroadly, and East Coast Ink Magazine. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.