Two Poems by Janet Buck
Picking at a Cataract
While I disappear into the white sheets,
coal black print, a little tilted,
trapped in plights of heroines,
twenty shy petunia buds
open slyly in the sun.
I tell myself that wisdom's tailor
dropped a thread and tickled me,
left spangles of a butterfly
more intricate than all my dreams.
Bliss I write, a fake among
the gems before stone cataracts.
A monarch lands upon the chaise.
I mistake its brush of wings
for common bugs.
Too caught in my atrocities,
a horse to ride, a ghost to feed.
Beside me sits a coffee cup,
the hour I didn't drink and touch.
Missing silky polka dots
unraveling on summer's scarf.
Beauty sends me to my room.
I think about the sin I am.
Familiar with this fallen moon,
I ask you point cold blank:
"Do you drink every night?"
An answer, the hangnail of silence,
bleeding color, forming crust.
Conversation peeling back
as if it hit pedestrians,
wants to start its path again.
I know that freight train
head trip morning seize,
wondering what hate
was spoken in the dark.
What hugs were traded for a slap.
Thumping ache, a sense that
even summer clouds
are burping ice and hailstones.
Soggy guilt is a post-it note
flying into daylight's soup.
Things we did and hours missed
on easy, legal, acid trips.
I know that churning
stomach time, where
a painting is off the hook
in a narrow hallway,
face down in the puddle
of a gruesome lie.
Holly berry crimson nose -
brighter than a perking sun.
That pasture where
to pour is prayer.
Janet Buck has a Ph.D. in English and teaches writing and literature at the college level. Her poetry, poetics, and
fiction have appeared in hundreds of journals world-wide. Two of Buck's poems have been nominated for this
year's Pushcart Prize in Poetry and she is a recent recipient of The H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence.
In December 1999, Newton's Baby Press released her first print collection of poetry entitled Calamity's Quilt:
Janet's first e-book of poetry, entitled Reefs We Live, is now available at Word Wrangler Publishing:
http://www.wordwrangler.com. In May 2000, Word Wrangler released Buck's first e-book of humor,
Desideratum's Doggie Dish. It contains what critics have called a biting, hilarious, and original look at the roles
of men and women, the foibles of bureaucracy, and the hubris of academia. To order a copy, go to:
To read more of Janet's work or schedule a reading, go to http://www.janetbuck.com. Also see her poems in the Summer 2000 issue of Offcourse.
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