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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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, Waxwing, The Cortland Review and elsewhere. Her collection The Flavor of The Other was published in 2020 with Dos Madres Press. She is the Review Editor of Ezra, An Online Journal of Translation.

Nail polish applicator dripping with red nail polish on a red background.



Each summer my mother redid the parquet floor or replaced tiles.

For wood, there was always a shade of honeyed brown, while

kitchen walls reeked of yearning blue. Nails painted red,

she smudged, scraped, bled, pulled at hard things that stubborned

themselves to give in. They all carried traces, shadows, favors

of long night fights, such noise became the invisible attire

of our house, did she think she could plaster every piece of her

that came out bruised or shrunk, no amount of ceramic could

hide the long trail of sadness along the rooms. Even so, priming

gave us purpose for weeks and us, little girls, tagged along, a feast

of dust and carelessness, no father shadow cast over the tops

of our heads. Fall came galloping down, the shed skins of August

still fresh, a slant of afternoon lazy light behind every window,

and mom’s hurried steps across the cold wood, her need to stay

small, her pretty blue tiles not large enough to hide the muffled cries.

Header image from Getty Images

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