Janet Buck: Four poems

Shoveled Sand

Idiotic wandering this wondering
exactly smacking guessing wistful
how a Christmas stocking feels
that has a real leg inside.
Drop-kick envy's marbles rolling
under dressers, in the closet,
mowing down the brittle grass
to make a cave of hay and pride.
I spend a stanza pulling strings
from rubber, stale celery stalks.
Stand my dolls on kitchen counters,
just pretending we can waltz.
They have perfect knees, of course,
like new erasers on a pencil.
Haven't born the tumbleweeds
and bristles of intruding knives.

Behind the curtain, rolling gurneys.
Hips are wired and screaming shock.
I have worn the mask of fine
so long I think I almost trap
the alligators suiting up
in mossy swamps of anger's bile.
At night with you, I'm never naked.
Still I'm barer in our bed
than I have been with any man.
Something in the arch of faith
has lined the bow of honest clamps.
Something in the bunk of loving,
well, has bombed the Klu Klux Klan.
It rides at night when I'm asleep.
Has to do with wraps of you.
Curved in spoons instead of claws.
The missing slipper matters less.
Touch-me-nots of isolation
move in waves like shoveled sand.

The Pipe of Grief

Christmas morning's muddy snow
in stockings that I couldn't hang.
The day you died was ultra-violet
desperation coming back to visit me.
I balanced on the raft awhile,
licked the sucker isolation,
lost an oar and guzzled wine.
It was all I had for Kleenex.
Hadn't quite expected torrents,
poisoned joy so thirsty, dry that
matches would have been an angel.
All the glitter on the tree was
brighter than my eyes could handle.
Holidays were felonies without
your hands to pat them down.

Tinsel on the pining fur
was sagging as I spoke of you.
The ornaments you made yourself
slipping from its weathered branches.
Aiming fire at God, at fate,
I ran the gamut cleaning house.
Pressed your Irish linen twice.
Waited for the whispered steam
to tell me I had I missed a spot
or folded napkins inside out.
Ninety years, you'd had enough
of motion's meager brittle wreath.
Infernos on the stage of death
are hunchbacks with a harpsichord.
Wrenches of a rolling stanza
couldn't fix the pipe of grief.

The Object Lesson

Summer spanked.
Reminding me
of times I didn't stop
to kiss the parted lips
of morning dew.
Steaming in the shade-less
grip of August suns,
I bolted like a wounded horse
to last gasp answers of the pool.

A palsied man on crosses twixt
a chair and gurney slapped
the ass of senseless whining.
Arms and legs were stunted sprouts
from old potatoes in a bin.
Head was ticking same as clocks.
Moved in such eternal cramps.
Tongue flapped sideways,
hanging out like soggy meat
that's falling through a paper bag.

His pain a catheter in place
to realizing inner-tubes.
I who griped of flattened tires,
aches attached to grocery shopping,
liners for my plastic limb like
condoms oversized exploding--
monsoon moaning at its finest--
met the object lesson's fire.

Apocalyptic Archery

Grade school bit and bit me hard.
It was here my difference shone
like marbles rolling in the mud.
Monkey bars and climbing trees.
Much the same as tippy-toeing
through a pasture guarded by
the threat of signs that said
the lace of graceful motion
never would belong to me.
Hooded parkas dripped denying.
All I had at awkward times.
That and shelters of my dolls.
Regal postures of their bones
I dressed in tights and leotards.
Perfect was a pair of jeans.
And I would live in zippers stuck.
Smelling better than they tasted,
matching thighs were peppermint.

Forty rotted, rotten years
of proving that the missing parts
were weaker than the sum of whole.
Keeping up, a sine qua non
to epic hyper-ventilation
when it came to stubborn wasted.
Flaws were wisdom's diaper pails
and waking wide was owning up
to cyclones of clandestine tears.
I would learn erasure's art
and ways to paginate the pain.
The come and go of confidence
was married to the empty page.
Pearls born in vacant slacks.
Apocalyptic archery with bows
of courage in their plan.
Freedom came from cloistered halls
of stanza turtles on their backs.
Moons around my fingernails
would spread the fever of elan.