cambridge book review

Four poems by Sarah Busse

~

This Bed

The milk paint cannot be stripped from the wood,
rusts deeper into the grain with every year
as blood will stain a sheet, or fall, a hill.

This bed is all land, fertile and farmed, square
as an Iowa field and heavy with its burdens.

Not our first bed, that narrow dorm cot,
nor second, the handy frame you hammered for me.
This bed I dreamed my girlhood in becomes

our third, charmed and lucky, high
off the floor, a house’s secrets stowed between its legs:

a solid, home-carved trestlework, a fastness
made for a farmer’s bride two hundred years ago.
I think it filled her two-room house.

~

The Dreamer

We sailed around the world.
We sailed to land in Rome—
Now why would a pagan like me
Harbor a dream of Rome?

The next time it was your house.
(Again it was us two.)
And all the songbirds maimed—
I don’t remember more.

If I could have run away,
If I could have run, I’d run.
But I couldn’t, no, I couldn’t—
In a dream you never can.

A daughter’s cry awoke me,
Another call to love.
And as I tried to answer her
My legs still wouldn’t move.

If I could have run to her
If I could have run, I’d run.
But I couldn’t, and I cannot—
From a dream you never can.

~

Two Postcards to Sylvia

1.

I rise quietly to work in the still-dark dawn.
Like you. I do not love easily or well. Ardor
is a different matter.

Years ago in a dream the grass spoke to me,
saying You must find an
other way. Minus extremity’s rigid torque.

I am walking that way now, though I know
the moon desires her own devoted, grown
to reflect the shattered brilliance of the eye’s round.

2.

I tell you this shard of a dream to hold myself
by your ear, to keep from falling to the mud:
You, a white giant frozen

mid-stride into momentary flares of a storm.
Me, a tree-frog climbing, sticky-toed and soft,
up your marble thigh, along an arm. You were

not perfected. No, terribly not perfected.
Interrupted, there in the freezing mud.
Glaring into light that soaks us both.

~

A Wish for the Bride and Groom

The spring wind is a wedding guest
Strewing flowers across the grass,
Preparing the way for the bride and groom,
The lovely two who shall come to pass.

May all those I have loved, or ever
Wished to love, be at peace,
And your lives fill with grace
As this kind wind billows the sail

To carry us gently home.

______________________________

Sarah Busse is the co-editor of Verse Wisconsin. She has two chapbooks out, Quiver (Red Dragonfly Press, 2009) and Given These Magics (Finishing Line Press, 2010). She lives in Madison with her husband and two children.

March 30, 2009 - Posted by | poetry | , , , ,

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