Two Sonnets

by Jeffrey Burghauser (October 2018)

Bois à La Jonchère, Maurice de Vlaminck, 1912





Everything (from the teased nodules

Of moss to the thin, wheat-colored

Seams within the landscape’s granite shelves)

Is taken by the ponderous & bored


Arms of cool humidity that make

Everything grow quickly as a kid’s

Sorrows that shall constitute his stake

Here—these arms take, and pull. The woods


Within the woods. The waterfall inside

The tree. The bleached fox bones of my brain—

Quartz tendons beneath the valley’s hide.

The dark Arcadias within the man.


This day that You lend, take it back with

Me inside of it. Until then, faith.




Night in St. Cloud, Edvard Munch, 1890





This damn body is my absurd bride.

It’s both hotel-room picture & frame.

Mortality was like a word I’d

Seen in print since school, though somehow came

Never to have heard pronounced. Now I

Skid into the tunnel of a plague.

This body is the dented prow I

Push before me, deep into the vague . . .


The Gates of Judgment close like the bones

Of a baby’s skull. Poets cry Your

Concern’s coordinates, the unknowns 

You aim Your Christ according to. Or


Not. A bombless fuse, some pointless laws,

A public ruse, this damn body is.



Jeffrey Burghauser is an English teacher in Columbus, Ohio. He was educated at SUNY-Buffalo, the University of Leeds, and 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 previously appeared (or are forthcoming) in Appalachian Journal, Lehrhaus, New English Review, and Iceview (Iceland).

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast




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