PoetryIssue 21 | October 2014

Byzantium at the Bus Stop; Byzantium at the Mall

by Sarah Sadie

Byzantium is no mythy place. I live here.
Yellowjackets turn aggressive
and bumblebees bump insistently into asters.
The ditches outside town fill to flood with goldenrod,
flame-shaped heads nodding in wind,
and soybeans sweep gold, wave
upon wave, fields emanating light until
the trees catch: honeylocust, then ash, and finally
the thrashing willows turn to yellow straw.
We’re smack dab in glittering Byzantium,
a long stretch through a pitted field
as chirruping children board the bus
and marriages break up, because or in spite of us.

What shall we do?
Head tra-la to the mall for back-to-school sales,
to find damned Byzantium again
as every display demonstrates perfection,
all the arrows flashing You Are Here.
Not young nor old, but weathering
the stretch that no one talks about, for fear—
and yellow is very in this year.
Imagined ecstasy of vision, this prerecorded siren’s song,
dizzy parade of music video and windowed mannequin,
they urge: even you may essay timelessness.
Here in Byzantium we find Byzantium’s trace:
Victoria’s Secret models with Theodora’s face.

Those bowls of light were always a thin broth,
though for years I held up only happy endings (try this one on)
doing my best to ignore peripheral movement, feral
whispers of the undergrowth. No more.
I sing down time and all the ravages,
a wild watering, embrace the mud
Byzantium was built upon, eternal
slurry that was always there.
We fracture, fragment, patch it up
and catch what light we can these flawed, mosaic days.
Whatever’s frozen, ageless, perfect I discard
to build anew, shard by razor shard.

About the author

Sarah Sadie locates herself in the middle of the USA and occasionally in otherworlds as well. Online, she blogs the intersections of theology and poetry at Sermons from the Mound. An editor as well as writer, her poems appear in places such as Literary Mama, Midwestern Gothic, and the Mom Egg, to name a few. Her life consists of kids, gods and poems, not necessarily in that order.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok