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Janet I. Buck

Date of Birth: 8/9/55
Location: Medford, OR
Published in: The Melic Review, Poetry, Perihelion, Southern Ocean Review, The Horsethief's Journal, Stirring V1:E2, etc.
Book: Calamity's Quilt
Awards: Two Pushcart nominations for 1999 and The H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence, 1999


A muddy helmet on center strips
of beaten road
was a surprising symbol
for a poet to grab.
Mud-caked. Tipping back and forth.
Rolling like a coddled egg
in plasma of eternal fire.
Where was his head?
Fate and fact were question marks.

Beside the helmet sat a shoe.
A lampshade minus wired light.
Its laces tiny syllables
in stanzas I could not arrange.
Painted with spray from passing cars
that underlined impending dark.
Fifty feet from busy junk yards --
urban’s tally of defeat.
His isolation captured there
woke me up to my insides.

Loneliness meets loneliness.
Despair rear-ends intact despair.
My ears grew cold, exposed, and blue.
Time between the traffic spurts --
Big Big Ben with slow clock pulse.
I was a silent witness now
seeing more than I deserved
like perky maids who
change the sheets in cheap motels
where love had slept
but time escorted to its grave.