Current / Destination (American Temple Period)

“All this in a castle of air, the floating world of the assimilated…” – Adrienne Rich, “Sources” 

Two old cities  

on the open sea:  

The chisel of departure 

the autumn gap 

To be oblique or artful 

about this: Crossing 

the threshold I  

go on believing 

The plains: Instructions  

from the time of war 

for a joyous period 

of mourning 

The contorted hand 

in the small chest: 

a talisman 

ill-matched to the fields 

Pig meant once unclean:  

The factories 



Now and then he sits in the garden 

with the sound of grace: 

The years measured 

in empty casks 

To simply care 

for others: Insufficient 

ceremony with desert 

lemon palm leaf open-air dwelling 

What is difficult: 

The citizen cries 

in the prison he built 

with his own gold 

Up from underneath 

the floating castle: 

Night-sky gleams wet  

with contract ink 

The ancestor’s schemes 

for the present moment: 

Sparrows that shatter 

the stomach’s peace 

Benjamin J. Brezner

Benjamin J. Brezner received his MFA in Creative Writing from George Mason University, where he received the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Student Award and edited poetry for Stillhouse PressHis work has been published or is forthcoming in Vallum, The Dalhousie Review, Whiskey Island, burntdistrict, and DistrictLit, among others, and has been featured on The Inner Loop podcast. He recently moved from Washington, DC to Toronto, ON, where he lives with his wife, cats and a beautiful newborn baby.