Paddock by Mary Lou Buschi


Poetry by Mary Lou Buschi Includes 3-dollar fee for shipping


“Mary Lou Buschi’s Paddock is like a game of hide and seek, a primer on seeking. Structured like a play, the collection follows two girls on a quest for a mother, and a chorus narrates, empathizes, and passes judgment. “I want to go back!” says one girl but the mother “is no longer anywhere, who was once where we could go back.” Surrealism, hope’s “unrelenting tick,” and dream are the guiding forces here. Buschi’s language is spare, cryptic, beguiling, like the “Fractals in the light” the chorus names. Sexual danger and maternal longing animate these pages, urging us to “diagnose the heart.”

—Catherine Barnett, author of Human Hours, Games of Boxes, and Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced.

Girl 2

Dear _____,

If you thread the branches in your sightline

                         what could you make?

Constellation of what? 

On clear nights, we see the head of a goat,
            and the body of a fish.

On those same nights,

             the chokecherry whispers, 

Amalthea, Amalthea.


Have you ever been in a small ocean,
seen familiar white stars
hidden deep around long banks of coral?  

Snow crabs and sea urchins huddle on all sides.
Over the water, thin shadows twitch and glide.

There is another ocean growing inside that small ocean,
full of silence, brown cotton-grass, sopped 
with white foam.  

On the strand beside the toss 
and stretch of each cast off wave 
a small goat obediently waits.

Told to do this, by what, by whom?  
His waiting keeps the oceans apart.  

Have you ever seen the small ocean inside the other ocean?
White stars, coral banks thick with crabs, sea urchin, 
shadows twitching past.  

On the strand, the goat—
Waves turning over.  And the goat, the goat,  
the goat, carried away.

About the Author

Mary Lou Buschi earned an MFA in poetry from the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and a Master of Science in Urban Education from Mercy College. Her poems have appeared in FIELD, Willow Springs, Indiana Review, Radar, Thrush, Tar River, Cream City, Pank, Rhino, and The Laurel Review, among other journals. Mary Lou is the author of one earlier collection of poems, Awful Baby, and three chapbooks. Buschi has received fellowships from The Santa Fe Writer’s Conference, Vermont Studio Center, and The New York City Teaching Fellows. Currently, she is a special education teacher in the Bronx.