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Tom Dreitlein is a poet from Rochester, NY. He is the author of the chapbook Map. (CWP Collective Press, 2017), and currently works as a Teaching Artist at the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology. He wants to talk to you about poetry and other things you can scream along to in your friend’s basement.

1 poem by Tom Dreitlein

Boy Sits in the Stones He’s Been Given by the Ocean



Family is a white bird stuck on the strings of his stomach.

It jerks the curve of his back


and asks him to heave again.

Another night of history lessons.


His fingers scrape to the nightstand

and grab his birth certificate.

he reaches in himself and plucks the feathers of the wings

rolls them tight and lights them

draws deep.


He looks up

and the quarry is splitting slowly

each draw pulls the cracks through.


Another inch.

Another inch.


They are on his skin.

They are creeping up his whittled spine.


The cracks spread into his pupils

and all the pillars slumping into the sea



He can see now

each tradition is its own brittle prison.


Another inch.


His skull splits

chips scraping against his scalp before they fall.


Boy loves the dust this brings.


How his past built him here.

How it will crumble him all the same.

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