Stirring : A Literary Collection

Janet Buck


The way to love anything is to realize it might be lost.
--C.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 bedside 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
Date of Birth: 8/9/55
Location: Medford, Oregon
Publications: CrossConnect, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Stride, Pif, The Melic Review, Recursive Angel, Born Magazine, OffCourse, The Rose & Thorn, Kimera, Stirring V2:E5, V2:E2, V1:E2
Books/Chapbooks: Calamity's Quilt, Reefs We Live, Bookmarks in a Hurricane, Before the Rose
Awards: Kota Press anthology winner, two-time Pushcart Nominee, The H.G. Wells Award of Literary Excellence

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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