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).

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