Stirring : A Literary Collection

Janet Buck


The room was one big
kidney stone we had to pass.
After you died, we stripped the bed,
lifted the mattress like Tupperware lids,
expecting the mold,
a shudder and a quick release.
But love won't leave that easily.
We tied sad tubes so many ways,
by popping corks and guzzling,
by scrubbing spotless counters clean,
by praying to a tone-deaf god.
But pregnant grief
drops babies on the icy tile
and some abortions
aren't approved even
by unwilling tears.
Ruination had its day --
Rome to sand and sand to sea.

We divided your china
with rattled palms,
washed red lipstick off old cups,
crated them in bubble wrap,
promptly snapped like thinning soap.
Christmas lost its fennel scent
and seeing all your ornaments
would crash the cars in all our eyes.
We gave away your penny stash
and lived inside the empty jar.
The moon, its glossy cavity,
a slice of fruitcake
tougher than a poisoned deer.
We painted your house a sterile white
to mask the Armageddon gloom --
to tell ourselves you weren't
four walls that held us up.
We sold your pink geraniums
to neighbors with their distant arms,
to someone who could water them.

Janet Buck
Date of Birth: 8/9/55
Location: Medford, Oregon
Publications: The Pedestal Magazine, Southern Ocean Review, The American Muse, Runes, The Carriage House Review, Pif Magazine, Three Candles, Recursive Angel, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Stirring V2:E5, V2:E2, V1:E2
Books/CDs: Calamity's Quilt, Reefs We Live, and Before the Rose
Awards: Kota Press Anthology Prize 2001, The H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence, three-time Pushcart Nominee, and First Place Winner of the 2001 Kimera Poetry Prize

Stirring : A Literary Collection

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