SARAH SADIE (Sarah Busse) blogs at “Sermons from the Mound” (patheos.com). Her poetry has received the Council for Wisconsin Writers’ Niedecker and Posner Prizes, and a Pushcart Prize. Her collection, Somewhere Piano, was published in 2012 by Mayapple Press. She teaches at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and online at the Loft. She writes occasional #sexyvoterhaiku and is currently one of two Poets Laureate (with Wendy Vardaman) of Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children.
What is this bone china teacup
I did not pay or ask for? We all
carry a grail just under the face,
that softest enameling. No matter
how carefully handled, already
the surface flinches around the eyes,
the mouthcorners turning, contents
spilling over, sloshed into a lap.
Or am I a thousand piece puzzle, a map
that will never fold up, once opened?
Will you open me, like a page?
Like a page, I was crumpled and tossed,
bad draft, small boat thrown
on the wide skin of ocean. Retrieve me.
Weather me homeward. Sir, I would like
to be smoothed by your hand.
I Am a Small Bird, Sir, But Brave
I am building me a new nest, a house out over the river,
of bits of stuffs, string, feathers, wrappers, junk junk junk
It’s a small house you’re building, little bird.
Two rooms only, sir, but quite enough
for all war starts in the bedroom, all business
in the kitchen. So the world spins whit whit
Though it may be the opposite is true.
That it ends, rather than begins?
Oh no, I never knew no end to either.
But it may be business in the bed, as I guess,
and war may lie with the knives and forks…
Most people are not happy. There’s a bit for you.
A fine, a bitter bit. Most people are not—too-whit, too-whoo.
And what would make you happy, little bird?
The sweetest joy is motherhood. Another bit saved up
these pretty years but mark you
how it’s lasted, oh, it’s lasted. whit
there’s light to see by, though not
so much as you might want.
The deepest magics can’t be spoke,
nor would you have me say ‘em. chirr
Nor am I not the wren, sir, nor not the kingfisher.
But like, sir. Something like. A quick panic,
and there’s truth for you. whit whit junk junk junk
The first time out’s always a panic,
but I may at it, even so.
Psalm of Suspended Murmuration
I woke up again this morning broken and
unable to heal myself. And is this not beyond
all praise? For surely darkness knows
as much of love as the light, and where
shall we find a vessel that is whole
that is worth a good goddamn?
The fracked earth, the broken waters of the womb,
the cave, the bed. These my sacraments and stories.
Wrap me in your deep green coat, keep me
from weeping, and I will walk in that embrace
the shadow paths. For I am as a multitude
of small birds, birds
stitched live into poems, their beaks these words,
pecking and singing and trilling beneath your hand.
I would like to take back agency from the eyes of men,
and my only choice this morning appears to be
to insist that I will take my own clothes off, myself,
when the time is right. Right now, the plumber
is on his way and I have far too many buttons.