Ukiyo-e / Mary Lou Buschi

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dancing girl press, 2014

 Mary Lou Buschi's poems have appeared or are appearing in Anderbo, Willow Springs,
The Laurel Review, Cream City Review, RHINO, The Collagist, Pank, Tar River Poetry,
Fourway Review, among others. She earned an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College
Masters Program for Writers. Mary Lou is also a mentor for new teachers through the
Teaching Resident program at Teacher’s College, Columbia University. She is a special
education teacher in the Bronx (New York, USA).

Tensile Strength

In the back of a Winnebago, a grown man, while pulling on his socks, tosses his head into his hands and begins to weep. It’s more than sadness he feels. After all, he was beautiful—and his wife was beautiful. And they were certain. Certain of their beauty and their profit. And they prayed. They made a project of prayer. They even made a baby of prayer. And every breath prayer took formed a pearl that they strung together. A string of prayers. A string so beautiful and strong the woman fastened it around her neck and was certain she could test its strength and did often. Even in the woman’s sleep she tugged at it. Dreaming ears against caged windows. Running with cupped hands full of water. When she woke, all that was left— “Pray Harder!” He said. Even as she did, there were only broken twigs bending toward her, shaking feathers into her hands.