Fall/Winter 2015-2016

Janet Buck


We rose at dawn against our will.
This appointment stirred a pot
I wanted cold, resting under freezer lids.
Seven rounds of metal joints, a missing leg, etc.
Thank God my eyes were born dry wells.
It takes another's tragedy to make them drip.
Cherry blossoms line the sidewalk;
I'm not staring down at them.
This office of neurologists has rows of pines,
their needles sticking in my skin.

When they put me in a room,
my husband's perched like closing books
upon a tiny corner shelf,
as far away as he can be─
if he were smart and not a saint,
he'd pocket both his hearing aids.
He listens like an ear that leans toward whippoorwills,
crickets on a cloudless night,
quite the echo of a dreamer even in this dwindling.

The news is bad. A slice of spine
they printed from computer files
makes me look like New York steaks,
arthritis spots standing in for
pearly fat that might have made
the meal a little easier to cut and chew.
She quickly scans the grocery list.
"Too many items we can't fix."
Too bad I learned the ugly stuff─
that surgery is impossible.

I must pretend I'm tending gardens
buried under warming earth; it's almost May.
A month of blooming promises
soil is meant to grow and keep.
Can't you hairspray daisy petals coming loose.
Can't you use some superglue
on stalks of peach geraniums
when necks are snapped asparagus.
Tell me "yes" or do not call─
I'm too afraid to touch the ringing telephone.

Janet Buck is a seven-time Pushcart Nominee. She is the author of three books of poetry and her work continues to be published in journals world-wide.



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