Two Poems

by Jeffrey Burghauser (September 2019)

La Baigneuse, Charles-Amable Lenoir

Ars Poetica

Yes, she would have been that allegoric nymph:

Litheness admixed with a tomboy’s countergrace.

But the girl was somehow…undermined:

Skin pigménted like digestive lymph,

Eyes of the refractive index one might find

In a water sample taken from a place

Over which thin chimneys loose their lace.


Suchlike features found their mirror in her head,

Disarranging her accustomed gait. The free,

Soft affective signature, the chord,

Whose unkempt assemblage would have said

Something of the lovely inclination toward

Clement, open, animal carnality

Came off simply feral. For, you see,


Ambiguity like this is often best

Gotten rid of when attempting to create

An economy, a girl, a meal,

A salvation. It’s the only test,

Though, the very precondition, of the hale,

True, correct, spell-wedging, insurrection-hot

Poem, which the present poem is not.


The Poem Addresses its Own Translator

Giving me your actual regard, you speed

To be fully overwhelmed by me. You pant

To be panting everywhere at once. You can’t.

No one wants to be translated by a god.


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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

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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