Undisclosed Recipients

To: <undisclosed recipients>

Subject: We’re Driving Away from the Sunset

away from the accident—what you call a condition

>of the quarter inch snow film 

gone already—the rearview making an orange cloud embedded

>in the blue declivity—a skyline of slopes

>>each oak-lined house incapable of encountering

the space of what we know

>the backward moving view—the walls

>>of light encase the car

>>>in argument for distance 

for the golden precedent of wheat

>or the low fields of what’s not yet corn

>>a $750 idea slanting the dash 

on a Tuesday type of Sunday

the horizon knows how to dress up as a movie

>we try to dress ourselves up as if

>>whoever thought of love was a friend of ours

>>>somewhere out in the possible hills

you are not an island

>not in this car—not in the world

>>its pinpoint precision loosening

>>>as we zoom closer toward the map

>>>>you are here with me

in athleisure in braided pinks

>that tie close your clothes 

>>before the arrow of I-80

what does fright know of automatic

>windows—what does the wind

>>know of itself—neither I nor you

>>>could guess

you chug fluids in the passenger side

>afflicted—what or whom we take back or with us

the set and unknowable plan

To: <undisclosed recipients> 

Subject: Am I Your Bird

in bluestone below the effigy 

>this pewter light lining

>>meteorites along the belt

of high quality marble

>I mistook boulders for leftovers

>>but we’re all finding ways to shore up erosion

>>>along the effulgent lakes 

as if soft light would eat stone

>and the statue’s flared jacket in unyielding bronze

cast and uncast seems to catch the same wind

>whipping your hair and the fine wrinkles 

>>of your face into a smile before the fixed carousel

of my obvious heart 

>not everything that moves moves me

my breath slips with the cormorant

>slipping under the water’s

>>surface—thank god for cohesion for the arc

>>>the flung stick made in the air

>>>>into the lip

of the water—what we gather

>to protect the shelf of land

>>from falling into the insistent tide

>>>all these war hero sculptures

surveying the byways—that which we protect

>and that which we try to leave behind

>>some sour memory in low

>>>in full relief—the sudden eagle

flying toward me in the passenger seat of your car

>eye-level—my bird’s-eye-view

>>on that high-up bridge between the mountains

of what crosses my attention—I hope

>I don’t miss the birches 

>>in their enamel shells for the woods


Katherine Gibbel's work has been published in or is forthcoming from Bat City Review, The Bennington Review, Gulf Coast Online, Underbong, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She teaches poetry at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.