Two Poems by Sara Burge

Issue 92 Cover

Found in Willow Springs 92

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Sexy Fish

One way to begin a new life is to be miserable in the current, so miserable you fantasize about opening a bar or food truck, anything to fool yourself more easily into believing a morsel of what yo do matters. You do a few shots on the first beautiful Saturday night of spring and they go straight to your fingertips while your husband, two drinks deeper fires up the grill and you think about a riverside bar you drank at a few years back, how it's up for sale, how you had years of restaurant experience and are still a pro at gauging the ebb and flow of a crowd, knowing how deep in the weeds the fronts and back of the house are and how to smile when you want to spit. That bar and seafood has always been your favorite, so you decide to open a seafood bar right there riverside, open air patio, little bubblies on the water, where you'll plant sunflowers and daisies and black-eyed susans and you feel yourself surfacing in your drunkenness, in the first dream you've entertained in years. A dream like a fish undulating underwater, serene in its own fishiness. You want to dive down among slick stones, into the clarity of rapids where you've always trusted your body's instincts. You will call your restaurant Sexy Fish. At Sexy Fish, all that matters is eating some fish by the river, knowing you're sexy, having a couple drinks too many until you dip a toe, an armpit, a thought into all that water, trying not to cry at all those bright splashes passing you by.


Harry Styles is The Way

I didn't care one way or the other about Harry Styles
until I noticed him smiling at me
from the sunroom of a house I used to pass by

back when we were all going somewhere.
It was startling until I realized
he was a lifesize cardboard cutout.

At Halloween, he wore a Chewbacca mask
At Christmastime, Harry was
decked out in a Santa hat.

He smiled at me for a couple years.
He never aged.
I started looking forward to him.

He became a custom, a strange jolt of comfort
when the days were too stagnant, too cruel.
Then he disappeared.

I wondered if the family moved,
or a child took Harry to college.
I kept waiting for his comeback.

Despair invaded every breath.
Every turn of the ignition.
Every window passed.

I started overcooking my eggs.
The cosmos called and said Harry would've stayed
but a lot of people didn't like the way he dressed.

A lot of people started crying in my office.
I smiled and nodded empathetically.
We all felt his absence and knew

we had to go home until he returned.
Some CEOs were brought on board.
They told us to keep going out,

even with no Harry Styles watching over us.
They assured us that there was no danger
as long as we're not afraid

and pretend everything's the way
it used to be, even though
Harry Styles is still missing.

I kept hoping he'd return
at Christmas when the son or daughter visited
or someone dug him out of the basement.

But he hasn't come back.
That sunroom is just a room,
and I don't look anymore.

That's a lie. I look every time.


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