TWO POEMS, by Janet I. Buck


When I was young,
poetry seemed
unnecessarily dense.
Packing for some
long, long trip
without an iron
of reasoning
for pressing
all the wrinkles out.
A rose with thorns
and non-negotiable
Cinderella's chariots
trapped and dragged
by thirsty horses
longing for
communion wine.

You worshipped it
like perfect flan
custard looking
at the eggs
that lent its mold
its pretty shape.
Sepia syrup
of memory lane
deceptive rust
of old mistakes.
One quick flip
and out it comes:
elegance and burn


Every date, it seemed,
was a creaking podium
for blind presence
of aching need.
His thirst shone through
his scratching hands.
Diners where he met
those girls had heavy, greasy
sides of fries and cheesy signs
on rainy roads.

Clipping words like old split ends,
Saul sat on a crackling microphone
of loneliness. Its cord
in every gesture made.
The waitress was nice.
A gentle touch from apron strings.
She brushed his arm
with tenderness like butter
rolls an ear of corn.
Delivered food
on empty cold collection plates
as if she were caressing
a snowflake about to melt.
Disturbing some Skoal
in a biting cheek.
Obsession's deep obsidian
was everywhere she
cast her eyes.
Bess had that tongue and
sense of self like poets
touch a nipple's meat.

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