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Michael R. Burch
Through our long years of dreaming to be one
we grew toward an enigmatic light
that gently warmed our tendrils. Was it sun?
We had no eyes to tell; we loved despite
the lack of all sensation-all but one:
we felt the night's deep chill, the air so bright
at dawn we quivered limply, overcome.
To touch was all we knew, and how to bask.
We knew to touch; we grew to touch; we felt
spring's urgency, midsummer's heat, fall's lash,
wild winter's ice and thaw and fervent melt.
We felt returning light and could not ask
its meaning, or if something was withheld
more glorious. To touch seemed life's great task.
At last the petal of me learned: unfold.
And you were there, surrounding me. We touched.
The curious golden pollens! Ah, we touched,
and learned to cling and, finally, to hold.
[Nominated for the Pushcart Prize by The Raintown Review]
Water and Gold
You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once,
but joy is an illusion to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.
You came to me as riches to a miser
when all is gold, or so his heart believes,
until he dies much thinner and much wiser,
his gleaming bones hauled off by chortling thieves.
You gave your heart too soon, too dear, too vastly;
I could not take it in; it was too much.
I pledged to meet your price, but promised rashly.
I died of thirst, of your bright Midas touch.
I dreamed you gave me water of your lips,
then sealed my tomb with golden hieroglyphs.
[Originally published by The Lyric]
There is a Rose at Auschwitz, in the briar,
a rose like Sharon's, lovely as her name.
The world forgot her,
and is not the same.
I love her and would not forget desire,
but keep her memory exalted flame
to justify the thistles and the nettles.
On Auschwitz now the reddening sunset settles;
they sleep alike-diminutive and tall,
the innocent, the "surgeons."
Red oxides of her blood, bright crimson petals,
if accidents of coloration, gall
my heart no less.
Amid thick weeds and muck
there grows a rose no man shall ever pluck
till he beds there, and bids the world "Good Luck."
[Originally published by Neovictorian/Cochlea]
The Effects of Memory
A black ringlet curls to lie
at the nape of her neck,
glistening with sweat
in the evaporate moonlight ...
This is what I remember
now that I cannot forget.
if I have forgotten her name,
I remember ...
rigid wire and white lace
half-impressed in her flesh,
our soft cries, like regret
... the enameled white clips
of her bra strap
still inscribe dimpled marks
that my kisses erase ...
now that I have forgotten her face.
[Originally published by Poetry Magazine]
See how her hair has thinned: it doesn't seem
like hair at all, but like the airy moult
of emus who outraced the wind and left
soft plumage in their wake. See how her eyes
are gentler now; see how each wrinkle laughs,
and deepens on itself, as though mirth took
some comfort there and burrowed deeply in,
outlasting winter. See how very thin
her features are-that time has made more spare,
so that each bone shows elegant and rare.
For loveliness remains in her grave eyes,
and courage in her still-delighted looks:
each face presented like a picture book's.
Bemused, she blows us undismayed goodbyes.
[Originally published by The Eclectic Muse]
Michael R. Burch's work has been translated into Farsi and Gjuha Shqipe
and has appeared over 600 times in literary journals which include
Bashgah and Mahmag (Iran), Kritya (India), Sonnetto Poesia (Canada),
Numbat (Australia), Ancient Heart Magazine (England), Nutty Stories
(South Africa), and Black Medina, The Chariton Review, Light Quarterly,
Poet Lore, The Lyric, Voices for Africa and Verse (USA).
C)opyright 2007 Michael R. Burch- All Rights Reserved
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