No Single Answer for Loss — Three Poems by Clara Burghelea

Dec 14, 2019

Romanian-born poet Clara Burghelea presents three poems that “speak of identity and how loss reshapes and maps out the body.” “The Clarian Realm,” “My Daddy,” and “Human shortcomings” are (according to the poet) “part of a collection on the journey, the exploration and the structuring of a woman of two cultures, languages and geographies.” The three explore deeper questions of life, human relationships, familial ties, and the limitations that mark being human, at different stages of life and of course, from different points of view.

Romanian-born poet Clara Burghelea presents three poems that “speak of identity and how loss reshapes and maps out the body.” “The Clarian Realm,” “My Daddy,” and “Human shortcomings” are (according to the poet) “part of a collection on the journey, the exploration and the structuring of a woman of two cultures, languages and geographies.” The three explore deeper questions of life, human relationships, familial ties, and the limitations that mark being human, at different stages of life and of course, from different points of view.

The Clarian Realm

First, two names,
middle one never really used,
except for paperwork. A father’s whim.
To remedy strangers’ curiosity,
always tell the appalling story
of the dead twin sister.

Essentially, a quiet bird.
A tangled self-other,
a movement out, carrying back within.
Body mapped. A daughter of divorce.
Split heart. Vortex of sorts.
Mother wound, mother womb, unmothered.
Smothered. Ka-boom. Floating by halves.

Basically, an unsung bird,
singing in coffee stretches, on buzzing nights,
peeling off softly. Read hunt for heart,
praise the unburied, lick the scab, eat the pain.
Stash poems for blood. Ink be thy Lord.
There, you are a queen, peaking at the moon.

 

My Daddy

taught me never to enter a pub first,
but have my male companion
hold the door for me.
He told not to ride a car
sitting next to the driver,
but at the back, like a well-behaved lady.
Meanwhile, life glitches struck,
independent of his good will:
he got a divorce,
a heart attack,
an unwanted courtship
from a rich Italian widow.
I mothered, unmothered,
died a few times
in slow motion,
learnt to breathe in poems,
got a couple of tattoos,
misbehaved abundantly.
He never showed me
how to make it
as a creature of the margins,
drifting and accumulating.
Rage was my machine,
cogs screeching, draped solitude under
the breath. Black blood
careened towards me, no matter
how I tried to silence the veins.
What was happening,
was happening to another girl, daddy.
One day, you’ll be comfortable
with my tender shrifts
and I’ll finally be that sort of daughter.

 

Human shortcomings

Tumbling black hair,
skin so eager and bright,
you hurt his blood.

He had names for things.
No single
answer
for
loss.

The second sneaking
dreamt it all
the aching eyes,
the silence bursting.
I could hear my name

hanging in the air.
He said: let the less-loving ones
fall earthward,
nails driven into brick.
Next thing, a thud
crippled the ears of the day.

Love crumbled to the naked floor.
You and I were not there
to pick the aching bits.

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About the Contributor

Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet. Recipient of the 2018 Robert Muroff Poetry Award, she got her MFA in Creative Writing from Adelphi University. 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.