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Body/Scape: Two Studies

March 11, 2011

by Sarah Busse

Why I Should Be a Landscape Quilter

Because I am not a painter, but a good fabric store is a second home.
Because this is sewing with glue sticks and markers, and after ten years, I have some experience.
Because these scenes look so real, you can hear snow melt.
Because I already work with patches and scraps.
Because stitch is one of my favorite words.
Because tree bark is endlessly varied, and worth a lifetime of study.
Because skies are not always blue, and water almost never is.
Because often the wrong side of the material is the right choice, and the background makes all the difference.
Because I am not good at getting corners to match up.
Because I woke up with a headache again, from drinking too much or maybe too little, I no longer can tell.
Because there are no faces, no eyes in these quilts, the only figure hunched, distant, walking away and his shoulders are lovely.
Because landscape is the study of shadow.

* * *

Good Morning, Green Bay

Freshwater waterscape sloshed
with tumulted gull-screech,
this morning your body lies
breathlessly unfamiliar
in its streets and lampposts.
I have to walk a little farther,
faster, as love stands witness
to how we dilapidate.
Can you bear it? Can you
give me directions?

My sisters laugh, terrified
at how I change, crack
open, change and crack again.
A faulty pot, misfired.
No, no, I say. This
is what human looks like, this
closed-off Northern face,
lost and falling, sky-colored
sidewalks, the angular
scrawk of a lone goose, yawn
of traffic over the drawbridge.


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Sarah Busse (website) is a co-editor of Verse Wisconsin. She’s the author of Quiver (Red Dragonfly Press, 2009) and Given These Magics (Finishing Line Press, 2010). A third chapbook, Gauguin in California, is forthcoming from Desperado Press. She has been featured at Verse Daily and Your Daily Poem.

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  1. Tony Press
    March 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I stopped counting how many lines in Body/Scape I swooned over, one just followed another Fantastic, especially, for me, the “Why I Should Be a Landscape Quilter,” but the second poem as well – especially when I heard the poet’s plaintive: “Can you give me directions?”

    • March 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm

      Tony–Thanks! That’s the first time in a long while that I’ve made anyone swoon (that I know of). You made my day. -Sarah

  1. May 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm
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