In this debut collection of lyric poems, self-doubt becomes sacrificial offering. Through recurring dreams of grandeur, self-sabotage, and defeat, Benjamin Miller’s collection Without Compass explores the desert margins between faith and emptiness, between “desire and its counterfeits.” Carved down, elliptical, the poems seek “the perfect flaw” with which to “cruel you to thought.” From behind the “veil and doubt” of the lyric voice, they lead us in pursuit of the possibility of belief.
“Desert,” from Without Compass:
What have I been doing? Nothing, nothing. Look: the blue couch scraped the floorboards Where we pushed it flush. The empty wall. The parquet's little screaming. In a dream all afternoon I dredged the ocean, Pulling razor clams and wedding rings. One-eyed crabs clung to my fingers, And I named them. This is wait. This, delay. I found the perfect flaw and brought it home. Like falling kites, the night came in a rush.