In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Neighbors Rising Above Octaves, and: A Theory of Eczema
  • Christopher Burawa (bio)

Neighbors Rising Above Octaves

The jarring detail unsuspected from the street

is how I hear you ridicule a vein, beg it to be nice, that most simplified of lies governing all the shades of white in a jeweler’s handbag—which include the orchestrated pinks and a token pearl.

We took a clumsy vote, a raising of eyebrows, and decided to audit your mad housework. [End Page 39]

Stunned, you answered by shaving only with water.

How can we love you now, when all you do is look east, toward the worst star possible, and pray that it will rise.

A Theory of Eczema

The doctor said take for example my heart, where just over the sternum an Eisenhower of skin emerged overnight. The itching begs for me, eventually leaves only a rose scar of Churchill. An episode

that lives in a future where there’s no one but the ghost of you. And on this patch

classical time screams by. Really, it’s a killing field, floral with elaborate errors and less fearsome with maybes. Each

army ignorant of entreaties, of who owns the land. There the sun isn’t a symbol of peace, and neither force has it decorating their uniforms or venereal shields.

One side wears a tattoo of ache, the other hosts the itch. I wish I could tell you that there’s a reasonable solution, but the complete body [End Page 40] only provides perspective: if the spot were a weed, you’d pull up the skin by the brain.

We’re all sorry. The uncle who smells of tar is apologetic. So is my future self, who also happens to mumble. I wish he’d turn around, face the prophet, eat his progeny—and all decreasing fractions of them.

Christopher Burawa

Christopher Burawa won the Cleveland State University First Book Competition for The Small Mystery of Lapses. He was awarded a MacDowell Colony fellowship and a Witter Bynner Translation Residency and most recently was awarded a 2007 NEA Literature in Translation Fellowship.



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pp. 39-41
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