Two Sonnets

by Jeffrey Burghauser (November 2019)

The Conservatory, Henri Matisse, 1938


Ample casements in the corridor
Frame the glass conservatory’s L-
Angled roof. Approach. Peer downward, for
Through the heavy glass one’s gaze can pour:
Jaffa limestone flooring, bronzes, hell-
Colored blossoms, vines, the palms they grope,
Oil lamps as in a dream hotel,
Dad’s Hermès Ein Gedi-scented soap.
Lover, fix your gaze upon the sum
I’ve been long-bewildered that I’m from,
Just beyond that polished walnut verge.
“Welcome back, sir,” says the concierge.
Welcome?—who, exactly? Be precise.
You can’t step into the same name twice.

Pierre with Wooden Horse, Henri Matisse, 1908


Like the tip, cuts, shoulder of a key,
The sky is withdrawn, withdrawn again.
A toddler’s face shifts so radically
Its expression well within the span
Of a single word’s being plaited.
I wonder what green beans do all day.
Glossolalia: overrated
As orgasm, and in the same way.
I’d love to see a train horn’s precise
Impact: a cleanly cross-sectioned beet
Of startled babies & worried mice,
Puddle skins pricked by birds’ retreat.
In Heaven, all things cohere, we’ll find;
Or they won’t—but we won’t mind.

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

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