Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Two Poems , by Janet Buck.

The Hamster Wheel.

I've lost two pints of blood or so it feels.
Cold and lifeless iris arms,
limp leaves of hands, struggle to type.
I suppose in a way je t'aime
defined the rich red dawn
of each and every heartbeat's plan;
now silence smothers sound.
When I eat, I do not sit;
I cannot face your empty chair.
It's 89 degrees outside.
I wear a robe, sheepskin thick,
oppressive and yet comforting.
I'll mummy myself with anything close
to insulation from the truth.
The hamster wheel of losing us
just will not stop, and God, my eyes
just follow it and never close.

When do the stars we looked to for light
turn into scars that fade with time.
I haven't styled my hair in months.
I wear old clothes and dust the house
as if I'm just a motel maid
tending to a stranger's mess.
Our vows are reeds you split and split —
toothpicks pressed to rotting teeth.
Didn't you know that in the end
all lies melt like truffles
left in the trunk of a car.
I spend a fortune on flowers,
plant them in a fervent rush,
envy their vibrant hues
in contrast to my countenance.
I keep a single shirt of yours
just to smell the collar's cloth.



Sitting on a Leaning Fence.

My friends have written you off
like a moldy grape
that spoils the rest of the fruit,
a bent and rusted nail
fallen behind a couch
simply too heavy to move.
I'm sitting on a leaning fence
staring at two yards:
one the presence of deceit;
the other an arid unknown.
I learned too late that we made love
under dots of stolen stars.
"A" is branded on my chest;
I see it in each passing mirror.
If you spilled some cryptic hint
about your wife three rows of states away,
I didn't hear a syllable.
Your voice was such a melody,
soothing as a Christmas carol.

To store these secrets nine long years —
it must have been like hiding
a corpse under a single leaf.
You pulled it off with such alacrity and grace.
Are we rotted apple cores
or acorn meat ... I wish I knew.
I was sure we stood an oak
the way others believe in God.
I stand a feeble willow branch
set against a howling wind.
Rehashing our fate on the phone
is running with a blistered heel.
Truth and lies as close in color
as shades of ivory and white.
You bird watch for some other woman —
I can't bear to lift the blinds.
Curled in our fallen nest,
I stare at crumbling straw.




Bio: Janet I. Buck, Ph.D. , is a seven-time Pushcart Nominee. Her poetry has recently appeared in 2River View, Poetry, Offcourse, Octavo, The Pedestal Magazine, Southern Ocean Review, and hundreds of journals worldwide. Janet's second print collection of poetry, Tickets to a Closing Play, was the winner of the 2002 Gival Press Poetry Award and her third collection, Beckoned By The
Reckoning was released by PoetWorks Press in the spring of 2004.

For links to more of her work, see


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