Two Love Poems by Mariesa Bus

And Hera sent gadflies in pursuit

Tethered to the tree, Io
could speak only
with her great eyes.
And so I never wrote
you many letters, though
words rose up through
my fingers like unborn
Braille, though I strung
sentences by their feet
like dead pheasants,
it was too late—
words were not privy to
this new language.
             While I loved you,
             I remained a beast.

O heavenly powers, restore her!

1852: the Studio of John
Millais, her cavernous ears
holding echoes underwater
like sea caves, Lizzie Siddal
hears the muted rattle
of her own shallow
breath, holds still
in spite of her shivering,
as she has practiced.
The last time her eyes
strained to see down
the length of the tub, toes
were ripening into—plums,
she thought, knowing that once
her body held the desired
pose she could endure anything.
The heaters broke and the water
felt like ice (her own marrow), felt
              somehow necessary.
Hours later, she rose
from the tub, painting
the creaking floor with
wet footsteps and saw
              Ophelia drowning
in a river of the same mania.


Mariesa Bus (she/her) is an editor, reader, writer, and arts enthusiast who lives and works in Tacoma. She graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 2006 with a major in English (Creative Writing Emphasis) and a minor in Publishing and Printing Arts. She is also a freelance editor, mother, actor, vocalist, matchmaker, and wedding officiant. Find her on LinkedIn to connect.