by Jeffrey Burghauser (June 2020)
The Poet, Doris Lindo Lewis, 1930
“What shall I my lady give?” Your trembling.
“Tell me what a person’s for.” For trembling.
“When did you last know what anguish signified?”
When the stars were neither still nor trembling.
Poet, here’s a stubby pencil & a grid.
Yours must be the hand that keeps score, trembling.
Here’s the birth & simple death I’ve been between,
Smelling smoke and hearing all the din between.
Here’s my sternum; here’s my thirteenth vertebra—
Loci for my frantic heart to spin between.
Here’s the model. Here’s her painted counterpart.
There’s an acre of sequential kin between.
Here I am; and there is Hell—with nothing but
A dense, chthonic cladogram of tin between.
Show me pairs among the ocean’s fabulous
Sinews only fit to fit a fin between.
Thoughtful Poet, promise that your words be so
Mason’d that you cannot fit a sin between.
Damson plums are slowly stewed in rosewater.
Darkness offers a divine cuisine of pain.
Poet, you’ve survéyed the whole of History
From this Mughal-crimson mezzanine of pain.
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 collections are available on Amazon, and his website is www.jeffreyburghauser.com.
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