Three Ghazals


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.




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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 collections are available on Amazon, and his website is

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast

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