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.

What to do with a Stone

  1. Toss it into (air/water/hole/basin)

  2. Toss it off (cliff/roof/branch). Is it faster than a feather?

  3. Imagine what it tells (time/memory/formation/journey) and what it doesn’t ( / ).

  4. Cradle it against (your (lips/forehead/ chest/over your left breast)).

  5. Lick it ((after a swish/a dip) in (creek/stream/river/sea/bird bath in the middle of the garden)).

  6. Notice variations (of (surface/color/symmetry)).

  7. Refrain from preaching to it. (Don’t mention it’s hard to swallow or that it’s a burden to carry or push up a hill.)

  8. Heed of its roll. Forward or back.

  9. Consider gravity’s pull when picking it up.

  10. Name it with the name you call yourself in sleep.

  11. Leave it on the headstones of ones loved best. Make it promise to get the message to them that you’ve visited. In case they weren’t looking when you came.

  12. Respect it. No matter your age, it’s older than you.

  13. Remember, every kind of history passed through it.

  14. - 19. When you finally ask about the wars it’s seen, whisper the question. It may have been trampled upon. A dead body may have pressed against it causing a dark stain. It may have been hurled by hand or placed in a sling and shot. Or it may have simply watched, stunned & helpless. As you/I do on the screens in our homes and restaurants.

Karen Neuberg is a Brooklyn-based poet. Her full length collection, Pursuit, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Her latest chapbook is the elephants are asking (Glass Lyre Press, 2018). She is associate editor of the online poetry journal, First Literary Review-East. Her poems and collages can be found in numerous publications including 805, Canary, New Verse News, and Verse Daily. Links to some of her work are found at

what wakes me up when it’s this dark

I Am the Girl