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.

My Litany for Survival

So it is better to speak
We were never meant to survive—Audre Lorde

Because the death you’re holding
onto the laughter disguise dirge
does not wear away the pearl

Because the fall to sea is un
complimentary no one says
I love you on the way down

Because there’s no one
to share this joy with and everyone
to share this joy with

Because a cottonwood decomposes
its mammoth trunk into earth how
many fissured moments it takes

Because a forest mouse from
where he comes scurries the innards
the novel earth his

Because it’s only you and your
mind that ties knots and ties
them harder, because

You are not the forest mouse!

And you are not the Kievan Jew
mother marched to Babi Yar
cradling her child to a

Shots in the back shots back
not your chest
the heart not yours
the belly the pearl…

Not yours

Because whatever
lived once is living 

A forest mouse in the fertile void

And the doors to walk through
numberless a woman behind
everyone disguised

In longing
vast and fat

Because the fear in choosing this
or that
keeps the heirloom locks latched

Because the ghost is within you

And the horse you were
riding on right
beside you is

And you are 
the horse

Matthew Krasner is a writer and teacher in either order. Born and raised in Potomac Maryland, he earned his MA in Liberal Arts from the St. John's College and currently teaches English literature and creative writing at the International American School of Warsaw.

Matthew’s poetry is culled from his expatriate existence in Poland and the elusive muse calling one “home”. His work has appeared in the Jewish Literary Journal, Krakow Post, and Sonoma Mountain Zen Center’s Mountain Wind Journal. He is currently a featured writer for’s online journal Coffeelicious.

For more background, visit Matthew’s website:

I Am the Girl

Alive in our Hiding