Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Two Poems, by Janet I. Buck.

Explaining Silence.

The blinds are closed on
every window in my house.
I never let the summer in;
leaves have left the trees
before I thanked them properly
for green then russet palms of shade.
I haven't penned a word in months.
When I look in the mirror,
I cringe and switch off the light.
Maybe the darkness is safe.
Kissing trust goodbye
seals my lips for good.
Even though you're gone,
I wear you like an anchor
roped to a boat with only a wish
that our love had not started with lies.
My curly hair grows wild
these days — refusing like a tumbleweed
to settle on the desert floor.
At night, too late,
I recite your strings of deceit,
hoping to disentangle them —
austerely aware that only
sharp scissors will work.



The Last Three Days

Maybe I knew winter
was pressing its hand on my thigh,
but this was March and simply wrong.
I sensed you were ready to slide
like a windblown leaf into a grave,
but, God, my eyes were closed.
Youth sees death as a distant
and formal debate it can win.
I ignored the emotional bruise.
To escape the whiffs of urine,
the brutal wafts of stale air,
I shopped for a tower of chocolates
and treats. There had to be
bows dressing denial.
I planned to bring a golden box
each day to you, challenge
your shriveled potato-skin lips
to open purling crevices.
No matter your teeth
sat in a cup of yellowish Listerene.
I rode my hope like a beat-up bike,
plodding the hills, rolling the curves.
My life was only scratched and old,
not nearing the unspeakable.
I listened to your labored breath —
the rattle so soft it could be silence disguised.
The truth, however, was loud.
I should have stayed the raging night,
holding the phyllo sheets of your wrists,
your knuckles flexing to type
just one more message of muscular love.



Janet Buck is a six-time Pushcart Nominee. Her poetry has recently appeared in Octavo, Poetry, Offcourse, The Pedestal Magazine, Facets Magazine, and hundreds of journals worldwide. This fall, her work is scheduled to appear 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. For links to more of her work, see:

Janet Buck's poems have appeared in Offcourse in:

Issue #26, March 2006, "Defiant Eye" and "Touching the Burn"

Issue #21, Fall 2004, The Leg Shop",

Issue #20, Summer 2004,Three Poems

Issue #19, Winter 2004, Four Poems and In the Shadow of the Globe: Where History Comes to Life by Michelle Cameron. Review by Janet I. Buck.

Issue #18, Fall 2003, Two Poems

Issue #16, March 2003, Three Poems

Issue #15, November 2002, Three Poems,

Issue #14, Summer 2002, Yolki Blues

Issue #12, Winter 2002, Love Should Play Fortissimo

Issue #10, Summer 2001, Two Poems

Issue #7, Summer 2000, "Flan" and "Obsession's Deep Obsidian"






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