Brandon Krieg
Two Poems

Arrival at the Complex

Over the rutted high road of this
  preserve, wide white
contrails converge, dimensioning
  a cloudless vast wash
above snow-battened grass: crisscross stalks,

some pressed, some melt-released, conduct acute
  sun-slant down tangent
  conduits ¬– pattern
  circumscribed like
Ojibwe basketwork in a museum by
  four roads’ roar,
  township, county,
  principality, continually
appearing in satellite photographs, proving here

is a gray rectangle of hectares containing
  two kidney-shaped lakes
  adjacent the new
tech park, commissioned to manufacture hope
  in this corner of the one
state so beleaguered it lost citizens
  in the last census.  Gone
from the oaks that line the road across the upper prairie

are the thick leaves that hid the monolithic
  fabrication plant
from sight all fall: here it is, one unbroken shape, ugly as any
  surface without complexity
at every level of scale must be to us
whose deepest pathways are in-nested whorls, in-
tessellations of intervolving spirals, branches, nebulae, yet

  this complex, I
  guess, conceals
intricacies obscure to me, that underwrite
  the flour of the very
bread in me, the synthetic fiber
of the fleece that holds my heat from
  January cold,
the corrective, shatterproof, and double-
paned glass that moves me through and keeps me
  from the world.

Tracing the Grooves

Housebound two days
    in storm, going round and round
the cheap used
      vinyl of a Bach fugue,
until it turns merely
ecclesiastical, and I no longer feel it
          as a lament
for the transitory nature of the worldly.

Deep roads
  reach Asylum
Lake.  Snow
is flying parallel
  the flattened grass
so fast it seems    not to fall, seems
a great ragged flag of surrender flying.

Into drifts, under branches piled white,
I walk into a clearing where
      snow slows,
and in sunbreak sifts
  like that “snow”
      of diatoms

onto the slopes of sunken mountains
taller than earth-mountains, which, so long
as sea surrounds them,
  will never erode.  The worldly is more
multiple than Bach’s unshattered
mirror showed.

A ghost-branch of heavy snow
    falls from an oak branch.
Years ago a storm-snapped branch fell
and shattered my dear friend’s skull.

These oaks creak
with white weight,
        like doors
that could blow open any moment
on an otherworld
    without because, without
    conjunction at all.

My friend is in me
on this mountain too deep
to see again.  We had crept to the edge
    of a four-thousand foot plummet
    in the Cascades.
He is stuck
    on that ridge,
looking down,
his face
    a blank lit by abyss.

A branch like a stylus fell

  onto that silence whose
  grooves, groves
  now everywhere turn

    under no sun, no moon.

Brandon Krieg is the author of Invasives (New Rivers Press) and a chapbook, Source to Mouth (New Michigan Press). He is an associate editor of Poetry Northwest and a founding editor of The Winter Anthology ( A native of Tualatin, OR, he lives in Kalamazoo, MI. His website is here: