The Poetry Distillery is an online literary journal established in 2018 publishing poems sown at the Poetry Barn, a Hudson Valley library and literary center.

Alive in our Hiding

The jawbreaker in my throat stuck,

Stopped cooperating, so Mom

Took my ankles, hoisted and shook.


Market Fair parking lot; blue silence;

Devil candy; bystanders calmed

By my cries once she let me down.


Everyone knows which parents

To fear, which flip you to save you.

Marshall Scarry down the alley


Had explanations for every bruise.

They added up too well. We didn’t

Get close to that house at dusk.


Someone whispered guns. A chorus

Leaned out all the front doors,

Singing - dinner. Gradually Marshall


Wasn’t part of our games. We kicked

The can and smeared the queer,

Even boys who later turned out to be.


We felt alive in our hiding spots,

As the colors left the tar and grass,

And crossed the earth to make palettes


Of light, time-lapsed, in countries

We figured weren’t ours to care for.

Even if we didn’t need to watch out


For our own folks, we knew when

To shut up, seek greatness, tell no one,

How to fold small shoots in our palms,


Sure this land and these fields were

Made for our little conquering bodies,

For us and our voices to play.


Aaron Landsman’s prior publication credits include a poem in Mudfish 11, stories and essays in Hobart, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Clackamas Literary Review, as well as a script in Theater Magazine. His plays and monologues that have been performed in New York City (where he lives), and other cities across the US and in the UK and Europe. A 2017-18 Guggenheim Fellow in Theater, he teaches part time at Princeton, and is a student in a new MFA program at Bennington called Public Action, which makes him feel like he deserves a cape. 

My Litany for Survival

Still, the Living