Janet Buck: Two poems

Dante's Dolls

Your bones have Gershwin elegance.
Mine are twigs and broken toothpicks.
Spots in Dante's doll collection
running on adrenaline.
My flesh in scars and often scraps,
crimps in pie crust cast aside.
Still they do coyote howls
in circles of a courage moon.

As you run free,
you watch me limp.
The tremor of imbalance loud
as Parkinson in nursing homes.
My angel wings are heroes crushed
like flaming butts of old cigars.
The scent of leather in my hair
does not emerge from horsy rides,
but belts and screws and super-glue
on feisty joints that think
somehow the sun will shine.

Bars on windows of my soul
are only spread by poetry.
If you glared at me in naked truth
at Christmas parties
dancing awkward from the booze,
I'd show you tickets of dismissal.
Hide in wreaths of cosmic smiles.
There are borders to this honesty.
Deserts I'll not let you cross.
Agony's a publication;
still lifes of a cloistered war.

An Edge

When the cancer was gone
from the house and she was too --
ice-cubes popped from freezer trays --
there was no sunlight left to watch.
Just clouds that wailed in ardent grief.
The bonsais near the garden wall
did grow moss, but this was
green he couldn't touch.
His tongue just mucus on a leaf.
These dregs of wood
had elegance he couldn't spell.
Their bellies living off the rain.
The flower children all were hers.
They stood for how she
suffered so in a canyon
of silence too deep to cross
and still dropped pearls of dignity.
He paced the hall
like greyhounds itching
for a race, but starting gates
were always booze.
The bathroom was his favorite hole.
In ebony tile of mass despair.
Alcohol was water running on a cut,
diluting what it was to be.
It gave the poker chips of fate
an edge they did not own alone.