Janet Buck

Distance Dust

Money's presence swims to shore,
a substitute for being there.
Salmon have to fight a stream
to hatch a gram of tenderness.
I migrate to your healthy arms.
Shot like ducks before I land.
When the phone rings once
in moss green moons
that still stir hope,
I think a sister comes attached.
Tandem breaths of splitting suffer
need a little oxygen.
My needs and errands on your list,
a pier in sight of slipping ships.
But these are mere cathedral dreams--
garbage ties for empty sacks.
We'll turn our heads in helplessness--
just discuss new kitchen tile.
Distance dust and dildos of a platitude
are always thick in surface chat.
I'll never beg for helping hands.
You cannot train their waterfalls.


A stairway's hill, Mt. Everest.
Except the snow is rows of eyes.
The poster child
of Health Disaster Magazine.
Stoic tunnels come up short.
The tandem breath of sharing suffer
always guides the river ink.
Building homes from rotted trees--
the teepee, tap, and tribal dance.
I'm quarantined by "set apart"--
liberated some by quills;
asylum is your willing ear
I've body casted to our lives.
Your listen love, a towel rack
and holder for this ivory cane.
Difference turning diffidence.
Alyssum seeds that crumble
in a summer wind
are not the lice they used to be.
We migrate to each other's arms--
fasten just like Siamese twins.
A story line of fairy tales
unrivaled in our modern age.
I turn to you; I stand on "us."
Flesh pulled tight on drums of try.
You harbor ways my sadness drools
as squirming bass with shiny tails
that comb the stomach of the sea.

The Burn Ward

It was a strange move to send
a four-year-old with kindergarten
on her mind to witness the malaria
of morbid grief in corners of a hospital.
To snap and stretch the bones deformed,
scream at them to "get a grip"
and somehow grow.
When amputation's answer fell,
I wondered what they did with parts:
the knee, the foot, the space between
that when I woke just wasn't there.
I'd catch the scent of mortal here:
learn halibut of halcyon
is often merely stinking fish
and smiles were super-slick-imposed
to shut the drapes on agony
and orchards of its perished fruit.

The burn ward had a hopeless smell.
Bodies were abandoned crusts.
Innocence and fairy tales--
birdseed floating in a cage.
I knew that much at that young age,
learned how helpless writes a curse.
My stamp of difference got its start
among the brittle thorns of tears
of babies screaming at the touch
of fingers in their open wounds.
Shriners with red velvet caps
would bring balloons and teddy bears.
Even then, I knew pretending
I could always fight the fight
was lifeboats in approval's sea
with foam that lived in Daddy's eyes.
The staff and staph of courage fire
that crept around sharp pity's reefs.
All the gifts and all the prayers
would never buy us back our flesh.
Never liquidate the scars.
I had them too. I knew somehow they'd
always rule white pages of our diaries.

e-mail the poet at jbuck22874@aol.com
info on the writer
to go back to the home page