Sarah Busse
received her MFA in Creative Writing and Literature from Bennington College, Vermont, in 2003. Her poetry has appeared in many on-line and print journals, including Poet Lore, Diner, Willow Springs, Convergence, Great River Review, Chiron Review, Perihelion, Dos Passos Review, and The National Poetry Review along with others. In addition to writing, she has taught workshops, given presentations on writing and writers, and tutored poets privately one-on-one. The children’s book she co-authored with her mother, Banjo Granny, came out from Houghton Mifflin in fall 2006 and went into its second printing in May 2007. She lives with her husband and two children in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sarah can be contacted at 608-831-0094 or by e-mail at More on Sarah at

January Bride
Regarding the caged bird: we’ve got it wrong.
A bird is not the victim of its song,
or say the cage is not a cage.

On that wedding night
I was a white dress carrying flowers that were white.

A canary sings its loudest hymn of praise
when there’s a formal structure to its days,
or say the cage and song are one.

On that wedding night
I was a white foot stepping through a snowy street.

The heart is caged by ribs but none will claim
it would beat stronger still without its frame.
Or say the bone’s necessity.

On that wedding night
I was a red coat vanishing in the dark.

First appeared in The DMQ Review
 •   •   •
First Letter to Sylvia
You would name this a blood season, wind
chill, gusting against. I cannot feel
my face, now I’ve walked this morning here
to meet you under the eucalyptus,

beside the mirror Bay, air thick with fennel.
Slowly the noises cease. The breath comes back.
Dear genius, dead girl, what can I tell you of sea
or moon, more than you know?

I grew up in a rivered land of corn and limestone,
humid and deciduous, seasonal as a living room.
Think of a Victorian house with tall, tall windows.
Think of a round, lonely girl who loved November.

Some part of me still drives those roads at night.
I would have you know me, a little, to know it isn’t
blood, just the ruddy grass of the tide flats,
as two by two the planes come in over the water.

First appeared in Willow Springs