How to write a loss poem

by Clara Burghelea


Begin with the half-decomposed remains of a hard night,
then the vast ineptitude of coming to terms with absence.

Begin next with the throbbing dawn, the way the sun fattens
with every bird cry, every gush of wind, then the aching light.

Always begin from the body, its soft unfolding under warm
sheets, words for wanting to stain the sheer air, then begin.

Begin with the marrow of memory, splitting the heavy silence,
ebb and flowing longing and lament, the knowledge of you

being somewhere else, your fingers, wishbones in someone
else’s origami heart, a supermoon of blooming flowers

in her mouth. Still, begin by ending, then end this beginning
once bursting with promise, your lips scuttling across my forehead.

Clara Burghelea is a Romanian-born poet and translator with an MFA in Poetry from Adelphi University. Recipient of the Robert Muroff Poetry Award, her poems and translations appeared or are forthcoming in Ambit, Waxwing, The Cortland Review, The Los Angeles Review and elsewhere. Her second poetry collection, Praise the Unburied, was published in 2021 with Chaffinch Press. She is the Review Editor of Ezra, An Online Journal of Translation.