"The way to love anything is to realize it might be lost."

      --- G.K. Chesterton

This waning was so hard to watch.
Your hair a crusty pillow case
that begged for hands to smooth it out.
Your skin, the core in artichoke
I'd steamed too long in innocence.
I wrote you scripts of cherishing.
A bed-side letter to your death
was sitting there beside my palms.
Its chapter was a blaring siren,
ambulance of flashing red
I told myself was headed to another door.

I'd fist the hour and bring you food.
Hunger, mine and mine alone--
at ninety you were readier.
At forty, I was grasping at collapsing straws.
Digging through your dresser drawers
for pills and clues to fuller suns.
I look at weakness honestly
and know I failed caressing rites.
Moons were crashing in my lap;
I scurried home to change my clothes,
called a friend to lotion bedsores of this night--
seeing you was crusted salt.
Silence of your closing eyes,
a nut to crack with pasted smiles.

I turned my back, busied tortured fingertips,
tilted all the crooked pictures
peeling from this treasured page.
A sonnet now seems quiet easels of disgrace.
I should have been that cool washcloth
even in my heated tears.
Privy to, but not quite there,
beside you as you passed away.
The end, a cockroach, common in
its basic bent of running from the grieving light.

            Janet Buck


I was bored with our beat-less dance,
our blood-less pulse, and so I drank.
Pretty goblets standing in,
emotion's dildo greased and oiled,
crammed inside my walloped thighs.
High's evasion, welcome mats,
a place to wipe two muddy feet.
I used it for a giant shoehorn
bending like a tired spoon.
I wanted snapped asparagus.
Fit myself into your moods
even when their sizing screamed
and echoed in an empty bed,
the flower box of dreaming dry.

Booze went everywhere we went,
this face-less escort of the dark.
It seemed to have the scent of pine,
curried fragrance, open hope
like city girls who find a forest,
thinking if they whoop it up,
they'll turn into an Indian,
a Shaman with his hat in place.
I thought a glass was musical,
when fingers tinkered with its lip.
Used it, fused the troubled times
into a flock of cornered sheep
like women used to darn their socks.
The night could chant and I'd be deaf.

           Janet Buck
JANET BUCK has a Ph.D. in English and teaches writing and literature at the college level. Her poetry, poetics, and fiction have appeared in A Writer's Choice, Born Magazine, Stirring, The Melic Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Kimera, The Rose & Thorn, 2River View, Southern Ocean Review, Urban Spaghetti, and many more. Two of Buck's poems have been nominated for this year's Pushcart Prize in Poetry and she is a recent recipient of The H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence.