On Married Love

by Jeffrey Burghauser (June 2019)

Wedded, Frederic Leighton, 1882


for M.C.L.

Standing-swaying burnt & dazed

On the Gulf of Aqaba’s

Swelter-fastened southern flange,

God & bodily distress

Twisted all my mind until

I was someone seeing Saint

Valentine’s Day solemnized

At the gold Sheldonian.

I remember ivory

Men in tailored formalwear

Passing through those burnished doors

Nameless with their weightless dates—

Slender & exquisitely

Nameless nymphen nonchalant,

Dripping silk from their physiques.

Each admitted in her hand

A specific, long-stemmed rose.




Fancy easily supplies

Pseudo-substance of this sort.

No one can anatomize,

Blush-with-pigment, and report

Real Arcadia as well

As they can a throbbing Hell.


Thank you for the quiet We—

The unmappably exact,

Heaven-sent & easefully

Adjective-repellent fact

That instantiates no less

Than a human happiness.


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Jeffrey Burghauser is a teacher in Columbus, OH. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo and the University of Leeds. He currently studies the five-string banjo with a focus on pre-WWII picking styles. A former artist-in-residence at the Arad Arts Project (Israel), his poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Fearsome Critters, Iceview, Lehrhaus, and New English Review. Jeffrey’s book-length collection, Real Poems, is available on Amazon and his website is www.jeffreyburghauser.com.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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