Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Two Poems, by Janet Buck.


Beyond Mirage

The dry kiss of death
lay on the parched page of my cheek
for several years —
bottles of pills just fingers away,
caps so tempting to touch and turn.
Caskets seemed like cookie tins
that smelled of sweet release.
It's all about a leg — a socket that tortures my stump
until my spirit begins to crack.
I struggle to find that slice of sunlight
tucked behind the gauze of clouds.

I blame my body like thorns from a cactus
I somehow plant into the skin
of everyone who tries to help.
I hate myself for dwindling bones,
for waning courage and rising pain —
their sirens screaming down our street,
drowning sounds of a three-year-old
splashing in the pool next door.

Will I ever dance again,
shuffle on the kitchen floor
to music from my stereo.
Silence and stasis strike me hard
as the only roads to trust, despite
my guilt for weakness in this
prickly moment of time.

After all these dragging months
hanging on my shoulder blades,
a set of crutches near the bed,
slipping on the bathroom floor,
cruel reminders of dreams destroyed,
like trees a storm has stricken and felled,
then left on land without a choice —
do endings ever bloom a rose?
A glimpse of hope rises and falls
as they hand me a step I call my own.
God, let this blessing be more than mirage.


Christmas in July

For almost two years,
my company's been
a heavy bathrobe
four sizes too big,
a heating pad, a blanket
to smother my useless leg.
My home was my hole.
In my mind, I straddled
the crater the best I could.
It was never enough
and teardrops washed the sun
until its fireball was cold.

All it took was artificial parts that fit.
Depression lifted like smoke
that meets a racing wind.
Finally, I'm back again —
the fish with a hook
unpinned from its mouth.
I'm not so jealous
of hummingbird wings.
While pain remains,
it's lukewarm water
I can swallow and drink.
It's only July,
but the Grinch who stole Christmas
handed it back.


Janet Buck is a seven-time Pushcart Nominee. Her poetry has recently appeared in Octavo, Poetry, Offcourse, The Pedestal Magazine, Facets Magazine, as well as in Wicked Alice, Kaleidowhirl, and 2River View. Beckoned By The Reckoning, Buck's third print collection of poetry, was recently released by PoetWorks Press. Her second print collection of poetry, Tickets to a Closing Play, was the winner of the 2002 Gival Press Poetry Award and was reviewed in Offcourse Issue #17, Summer 2003, by Robert W. Greene.
She teaches writing courses for Rogue Community College in Southern Oregon. For links to more of her work, see
Janet Buck's poems have appeared in Offcourse since 2002.

Issue #34, Summer 2008, Two Poems

Issue #33, "The Dirty Rabbitt's Foot" and other poems

Issue #31, Poems

Issue #29, Three Poems

Issue #28, "Explaining Silence" and "The Last Three Days."

Issue #27, "Sitting on a Leaning Fence " and "The Hamster Wheel"

Issue #26, "Defiant Eye" and "Touching the Burn"

Issue #21, The Leg Shop",

Issue #20, Three Poems

Issue #19, Four Poems and In the Shadow of the Globe: Where History Comes to Life by Michelle Cameron. Review by Janet I. Buck.

Issue #18, Two Poems

Issue #16, Three Poems

Issue #15, Three Poems,

Issue #14, Yolki Blues

Issue #12, Love Should Play Fortissimo

Issue #10, Two Poems

Issue #7, "Flan" and "Obsession's Deep Obsidian"



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