Clara Burghelea

Mal de peau

I dreamed him and there he was,
untroubled, like that late summer,

when we met, in the middle of living
our lives. He looked at me, unhurt eyes,

I almost whispered his name, then somehow
knew words might chase away the vision.

Inside my heart, the name roared
like a famished beast wedged into the flesh.

On my lips, an unborn smile, a moan.
Around us, the world unraveled at full speed.

His eyes lingered on my face and I felt old,
some stranger that couldn’t make them gleam

or even blink. The name wound itched in my throat,
black birds covered the washed-out sky,

some decorum of ambush. He walked past me.
Little deaths camouflaged as honest dreams.

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, HeadStuff, Waxwing, The Cortland Review and elsewhere. Her collection, The Flavor of The Other, is scheduled for publication in 2020 with Dos Madres Press. She is the current poetry editor of The Blue Nib.

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