Clara Burghelea

The almost baby

comes down to cuddle every night,
its sweet breath poking a hole
into my chest, I stay wrapped
in my covers, my bucking heart,
its love-grief ticking, itches itself
into the flesh, let me stich you
onto my thigh, I whisper, dream
the loamy scent of your melon
head from inside my womb,
before daylight presses nakedly
against all surface, everything
purples and blues, dripping in flecks,

and I pocket myself in the folds of yet
another day, how many how much.

How to make a love potion

Pick up nettles from the back of the garden,
hum their sting into numbness, blow your
tired lips over their heart-shaped leaves,
wash the dirt off, save the boiled water
to rinse your hair, murkier than sodden roots,
later scratch out the cornea of the super moon,
let it glow-tongue its way into the thick
of things ready to sprout, burn, heal,
the ribcage of our house is breathing moss
as we pray to a sliver of air caught up
in between the crammed walls, our days
empty like bottles, here, sip from this broth

of stale wants, mother, cunctator, crankhead,
chamber of thoughts, seasonal, guilty shimmer.

That year the city emptied

I had a dream in the day, something soft and pretty
blooming into my right palm, a feast to the skin,
my eyes closed against the sunlight, instead, our thick
silence singsonging the narrow room, outside the wide
window, the night had taken out the stars, city lights
peppered the view, my eyes hooked on yours, a thin string
of saliva on your lips, an animal candor in their gaze,
some indolence in the making, we couldn’t stop being naked,
lazybones mine, what else was there to do but feed the ones
who stayed, give them hope in the center of a glistening thing,
that world carpeted with fear, gurgling of breath and blood,
would not keep us from dripping layers of life into our bones.

Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet with an MFA in Poetry from Adelphi University. Recipient of the Robert Muroff Poetry Award, her poems and translations appeared in Ambit, Waxwing, The Cortland Review and elsewhere. Her second poetry collection Praise the Unburied was published with Chaffinch Press in 2021. She is Review Editor of Ezra, An Online Journal of Translation.

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