by Jeffrey Burghauser (May 2021)
Flying Fox, Vincent Van Gogh, 1886
The summer’s terminus approaches, not
Unlike a duo of Honduran whores
Who see a peach-cold gringo fresh-begot-
Ten by a tourist coach’s hissing doors.
I’ve peered between the bridge’s dampened slats.
I’ve tried to count the means by which You save
Like one who tries to tally vesper bats
Abruptly trapped inside a Scandinav-
Ian, fluorescence-bleached laboratory.
The World’s a very narrow bridge, and bats
Go dormant in the winter—that, or flee,
Blithe, tourist-like, to torrid habitats.
I’ve prayed: Please liberate me from the fray
Providing neither ruthlessness or ruth.
The night’s an iron cell, as isola-
Ting as a plainly universal truth.
Look at that pedestrian. Yes, I know that face:
It’s the face you make expressing the sensation
You experience on learning that your brother,
On learning he’s inspired fear in another,
Experiences no sensation whatever.
And the recognition of how much Perfect Grace
Is needed to flood the streets of the small nation
That is any given self…this recognition
Moves, as, across the tongue, there moves a slow-moving flavor.
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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