In the suburbs

At night, bodies unfold their pretty scars
and souls start rattling their cages.
Morning, always fresh and unhurried.
Midday is to be lived within itself,
good food, tempered laughter,
a bottle of Amarone.
There is an aristocratic cadence
in the way time punctures the day.


Scarred, thin skin hiding
inside loose T-shirt,
the barren jasmine

softly coiled up
the purple blind’s string,
chipped, blue mug burning

my lips seeking yours.
Foreign blood flooding
the room, no way out,

your gaze nowhere to
be found. The leaving
leaves. Pain comes in waves.

Unstructured lean hours
quicken upon touch.

Growing up

In the car,
my son asks me
if his head is oval,
too big for his body.
Motherness pricks its ears.
The other boys call me a freak.
I sink hands into coat pockets.
His father’s cling to the wheel.
Same white knuckles.
I praise the thick eyelashes,
his humor, the left dimple.
His father blames the tallness,
maybe the other boys are envious?
He goes quiet, gazing
outside the window. Nine is a letdown.
The body is preyed, a commodity.
His sigh comes late, a soft breath
that bounces off the roof of the car,
enters his father’s teary eyes,
then claws my pounding throat.

Clara Burghelea @ioanaclarais a Romanian-born poet. Recipient of the Robert Muroff Poetry Award, she got her MFA in Poetry from Adelphi University. Her poems and translations appeared in Ambit, HeadStuff, Waxwing and elsewhere. Her collection The Flavor of The Other is scheduled for publication in 2019 with Dos Madres Press.

Banner image “As the Moon Enters the Room” by Robynne Limoges. She tweets at @LimogesRobynne.