I recently discovered a poet whose use of language is so powerful, it stops my heart.  Clara Burghelea’s poetry breaks you apart and takes you into the minutiae of pulse and breath.  Her work is extraordinary.

Yesterday, one of her poems appeared in the online magazine ISACOUSTIC,  which is publishing some outstanding contemporary poetry.

Another of her  poems has recently come out in Sheila – Na – Gig, and I am beyond honored to be able to say that my poetry has mingled in the pages of a magazine that has also published Clara’s work.  Sheila – Na – Gig has been one of my favorite online poetry mags for a long time and I highly recommend checking out all of the issues.

Published in ISACOUSTIC on April 15, 2018

How to lose a self in a few steps

First, you read until pairs of invisible eyes
grow under your skin, eating at the paper-
the slip on which you become someone’s wife,
then the birth certificate
that spells your daughter’s name.
Each time, white birds burst out
of your chest.
The eyes bleed a little,
you have no idea why your skin breaks out.

Branches snap, trees spit out leafy hearts,
easy summers thicken by year.
Here is some rose water to sprinkle
over your thinning sanity.
One day, mother love turns into a wound
the size of a missing breast,
a vicious broth of bone met and brain failure.
The eyes under the skin close one by one,
failing windows of hearable hum.

Bargaining is nursing your baby boy
while dreaming of your mother’s morphine.
Get away from me, come closer,
you say to the man
who knows every here and there in you.

Pain is as pain does. Blind eyes feel
the edges of you that now slip
into unfamiliar geography.
Remember to lose your wedding band,
your true colors, mostly, your liquid mind.
Get a tattoo right above the left wrist:
Make sure I can still slit them without
ruining the pretty letters. The bearded artist
slips his hand between your legs.

Out in the world,
you scatter papers from your desk,
and pulse inside words, books, poems.
You can feel your skin prickling,
surging with ink blood.
The pen voraciously bites at the paper:
I am thinking of you.
One day, you’ll visit your own grave and say: passion did it.
~Clara Burghelea

Published in Sheila – Na – Gig Volume 2.3 Spring 2018


Sweaty nape,
eyes on the peeling apple,
one bare shoulder against the wall,
summer smoldering under the skin.

The radio humming in the distance,
the fading rhythms
of another summer,
draws you into my mental landscape.

Your silhouette comes
shining against the blade.
Fruit coils in my lap,
its redness stained by salt.

And then your memory
grows into my skin,
grafting itself
into the familiar.

Flesh becomes swollen
with your cells
that won’t shed,
a hive of permanence.

When the radio’s voice dies out,
the apple rolls on the floor,
its taste already on foreign lips,
and I catch my breath anew.
~Clara Burghelea