Ysabel Y. Gonzalez

There is no such thing as over packing
for a stay in the pysch ward.
The trick is:
plan ahead.
A long checklist
will make that hospital feel like home.
Slippers, hair rollers, a good book—
don’t forget chapstick
or expect a sad opened tube from Tía on visiting day.
Fill your suitcase with so much stuff
it tips,
can’t stand without someone gripping the side.

Or, travel light.
into your new room
at dawn with nothing
but a bold plastic bracelet
wrapped around your wrist.
Lie on the worn bed, tug
at the scratchy linen—
dream well,
to magic:
black smoke
always coming,

New Jersey native Ysabel Y. Gonzalez, is also known for her performance poetry under the alias Ancestral Poetisa. She received her BA from Rutgers University, an MFA in Poetry from Drew University and currently works for the Poetry Program at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Ysabel has received invitations to attend VONA, Tin House and Ashbery Home School writing workshops. She’s been published in phati’tude Literary Magazine, Huizache, Acentos Review, Waxwing Literary Journal and forthcoming in It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop. You may find more of her poems and recorded performances at

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