Since 1996 Volume XXIV


Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet. Recipient of the 2018 Robert Muroff Poetry Award. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Adelphi University. She was also granted the Scott James and Jerry Cain Creative Writing and Social Media fellowship at Adelphi University which gave her the chance to sit as editor-at-large with www.villageofcrickets.com. Her poems, fiction and translations have been published in Full of Crow Press, Ambit Magazine, HeadStuff, Waxwing and elsewhere. Her collection, The Flavor of The Other, is scheduled for publication in 2019 with Dos Madres Press. 


How we are made 


People with full time lives

and open weekends 

live on lattes, and borrowed touches,

always chasing the missing hour.


At night, their dreams march together

shrinking in the face of the live moon,

while bodies curl into a broken C

in the middle of their oversized beds.


They busy themselves 

with what is tangible,

keep their wrinkled hearts 

satiated, accumulating gloss,


shedding love like dead skin,

no dream to choke their breath.



The body is the most dangerous place to be


2 pm is a treacherous hour,

it ushers into the day,

a smile sinking into a chest.

It can be all lemonade and chat,

or silently cutting so much of you

out of myself, it numbs the fingertips.

The air stung with slumber,

heat, a thin grime on the skin.

The hive of the world 

pummeling the absence,

no cell safe from its echo.



Dear Louise Glück,


Though we are strangers to one another,

there is a vibrant stretch in your poems

that mirrors my humming heart.

Our mouths are so full of words

the skin bleeds dark ink,

flesh purrs unsung,

lungs loosen like cashmere gloves.

My edge of March is still nestled in the dry grass,

speckles of soiled snow,

clogging my eyes. Am I allowed to dream?

The April air is burning of tricks 

and schools of spores descend like blessing.

I have never met you, yet you live in my room

within the 635 pages of confessed yearnings,

spanning 50 years of giving yourself to the page.

Outside the window,

the brown Mineola bird in the lilac tree

woke me up again and I knew it flew

this paper to find the blue.

Except for my heart, I have 

none to give. The sky still looks

a winter’s cheek, a hybrid of ashen dawn

and smoke. 

The bird is hungry for spring

like myself, its voice sprung from my chest.

Louise, I am made for calling: 

shaking off dead skin and silent throat,

pounding the earth for awakening.

Can you swim the stream of cries

and rush me into the summer twilight?





They say to name is to own, 

give shape, pulse, intent.

Silence is soft, protective of the edges,


the unsaid stammering in the mind for years,

until something long shuttered cracks. 

An excess of word flesh. 


The day you loved me went by without clamor.

Between heart and mouth, your face,

like chocolate, softened in summers to come. 


I shelved the rest. Life hurried us along.

We might have said a couple of untrue things

to sputter the shared ambivalences.


Somewhere between page and tongue,

I kept you anonymously locked out. 



Dear NY,


I’m back to my Easter European small town

where I’m trying to understand

how we all become strangers 

in the most familiar stretch of skin.


Permanence is but a fistful of pine needles

in the condensation of a train window

where I am caught in the vacant space between drops.


Across an ocean and two seas,

there’s a world where I thought

I could live without longing,

yet the pungent scent 

of your gutted and deboned streets,

the whisper of thawing bodies,

and the geared clockworks of your blood

keep custody of my heart.


Half-drunk with your distanced gifts, 

I lean my head against the back seat of the taxi,

Oriental music filling the narrow space,

and I ask the driver to take me nowhere in particular,

just spin around, until my heart unlearns to remember.


How fat with love I was, trying to feign sleep 

on the LIRR off-peak train, back from poetry readings,

just to keep words bursting out of my chest like birds.

How I used to live in each artery of ink 

that ran your speckled body,

and made sense of my loneliness and giant dreams. 


You are as far from as the heartbeat of the pen

that never rests its noisy nib. On paper or heart,

you never stop writing my wandering steps

and I hold you on my lips like a whisper,

seeping from the inner workings of my heart.




—All poems are from the author’s book, The Flavor of The Other.

—All poems are Copyright © Clara Burghelea.


PoetryMagazine.com is published by Gilford Multimedia LLC  www.nycny.net

Mary Barnet


Grace Cavalieri

Joan Gelfand

Janet Brennan