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Mary Lou Buschi

The Forest is Dark and the Road is Dangerous

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Black tarn hidden deep among the trees
that bend over the black water.

Parting the leaves hanging like bangs across
a young forehead—

Lost? I know there is a
crystal storm and moss grass
where the path forks.
I know there is a mountain
between two valleys where mouflon graze.
I know there will be herring and chunks of bread.
I know the star pool will fire and scratch.
I know because one story has ended
as another began, as it is happening,
happening now.

We are here. We are here.

Don't speak of them—

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Yes, everywhere,
in the purple petals that
bloom like a rash over bark,
in the soft powder washed up on glass,

in the mouth of the orchid,
that secret tongue.

What are you looking for?

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In the dark how a shadow?

Let us go then.

Without light?

What is there to see?

There were three—

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The oldest looking down

on us. The other

below on a sharp turn

hind facing.

The third left years ago.

Mangy old goats, I'm tired of them

And of this mist,
this green sky.

Found Baby

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I found a baby passed hand to hand.
Her bottle enclosed in a glass globe,
rain glitter in murky water.

I remember tasting a healing gash,
cool tin on the tongue
round which the skin would one day
be a knotty scar.

Our yard was a made up kingdom
where a girl could squeal
and die a thousand deaths
only to emerge from the bloody blanket
even more beautiful.

The only sound,
a ribbon of rhythmic  wings.
A Lark bent down
to lift the girl's lids.


I found a carriage passed hand to hand
perfect for a baby,
led by Camarillos,

expressive eyes, well-defined withers
long arched necks.

The girl is always young in that yard,
sloppy curls, lashes casting long shadows,

wind curling around her,

metal bed pushed into the dark.

Changing Faces

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She had a knob at the back of her neck
that when turned revealed
a different face.

Three expressions: happy, hysterical,
one I couldn't figure.

I wanted to test the spirit realm.
Turned her face to happy.
Left her downstairs all night.

In the morning—still happy.

Next night
turned her face to hysterical.
Left her downstairs, alone.

In the morning—hysterical.

The third night,
there was a storm.
Branches entombed in glass,
raw wires dancing as they flamed.

The next morning,
that face I couldn't figure.

Spring is a Tasteless Funeral

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A ramshackle of waxy blooms,
each embalmed yellow head of the daffodil,
the leathery shaft of each purple hyacinth
spreading itself out over miles of March.

The only truth is what the blackbird knows
looking down from his high branch
waiting for every eye to click shut.

The sum of 1 + 1. The counting
of each finger as it stiffens.

The days still cold. The truth empty.
Empty as the space inside the half circle of each letter D.

Distance and longing turn flesh to stone.

Someone said some such thing.
Someone else said it's possible to make
a diamond out of the dead.
To turn the invisible weight of woe,
the tireless project of mourning,
into the strongest agent of light.

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