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3 Poems || Brandon Kreitler

Other Side of the Sphinx


Shafts of lamplight measure the city.

The waitress approaches like a nurse.

It’s been a long dull heat, June without ides,

and I think of the prom that must be going on somewhere,


of the bulb faltering in the corner of the lobster tank,

and how the failure of beauty to ruin

is the failure of beauty to sustain these hours,

threaded through with what desire becomes.


Outside, a man flosses with a candy wrapper.

The junction brims

with the breathless clarity of its signage,

like the vacuous halls of a night ward.


There and in the vagaries of this lobster-beneficent light

the hours come. Let them come.

Let them stand for sugar piling in a bowl,

stowed against days washing out in onset.




The trees shed their long leaves like folded napkins.

A dresser has been dragged into the street.

For a moment the light falling through

the station wagon window looks gold.

A light fit for enshrining the empty city

or the pallor of plastic saints.

If this means that I’ve kept speaking

my same dull desires, that I’ve found myself

a ghosted suit before the stacking

of folding chairs on the shine of burnished

flooring in a darkening gymnasium,

then you must think of it as a sort of kindness,

like bearing witness to some final bothering

of the folds before settling into the strictness of edges.


Requiem for the Florists Association


I admit a certain foreignness upon

revisiting my earlier testimony.

The stately claim of waning hours.

What can that reflection offer

us who must weather our days

as though in their lobbies, in pornographic light.

I suspect there is always

a more vulgar way to put it.

A scrap of air retrieves not

your early life but the thought

that it might. C’mere mustard days.

Washed out in music attendant

to some parade float.

Unassuming as ornament goes,

containing all and none

in the weak sense of both.

We are content merely to find ourselves

within its glassy sweep,

like the gaze of an old jam jar left

a long time in an empty field,

a gift horse toppled

and let to sea.


Brandon Kreitler’s poems have appeared in Conjunctions, Boston Review, Indiana Review, Maggy, Cutbank, DIAGRAM, Sonora Review, Eoagh, Omniverse, Atlas Review, and othersA chapbook, Dusking, is out from Argos Books. He’s from Arizona and lives in New York City, where he teaches English at the City University of New York.