Nervous Doorknobs

by Janet I. Buck

    "When it's dark enough, you can see the stars."

              --Charles A. Beard

Tit for tat keeps playing in my bitter mind.
To strike or sonnet ever answers this.
To paraphrase a woman's words from AOL:
I was in the ladies bathroom dwelling on
the sheets we use to guard our ivory bottoms
in the john, yet there's nothing for our souls...

Part of my pen wishes to sit on dreading's fence,
make pages of a bible's tome a missile or
a paper airplane, put the choice in better hands.
Another leans towards plain revenge.

Autumn's colors switch from rust and brown
to red and blue. A seed in me
grabs hastily for fire inside retorting torch.
Yesterday we mourned in floods.
Today our tears are rational.
Thinking of tomorrow's act.
Malt clouds lick the last
of summer's turquoise sky.
Weeds don't know it's not their right
to steal a pasture full of flowers.
Mums jut yellow buttons out --
window boxes buckling.

A teenage girl gets flag tattoos;
her parents don't call her a whore --
for this is her blood, her anger earned.
A soldier paints his truck with this:
"Mess with the best; Die with the rest!"
Prideful loins injected with Viagra drops
of grieving for the missing ones.
Lust for freedom won our wars,
yet this glory wears a chill.

You turn the knob at half-past five.
I honor lips with kiss of ink
I hope this terror won't erase.
In the mirror, I see your mother's worry lines.
You turn the knob at half-past five.
Your aftershave on pocket blankets of your flesh.
Its nectar and ambrosia, a waning dream
I wish to turn from streams to rapid rivers now.
I think of heroes clear across the Great Divide,
marching to their funerals in caskets of our iron tears.
I cling to wallets of our love,
think of you on choppers circling Vietnam,
hauling wounded to their beds.
Selfishly, I'm glad the spoon your body is
will sleep with me and not be shoveling a grave.

©2001 by Janet I. Buck
Janet I. Buck

Janet I. Buck is a two-time Pushcart Nominee and the author of four collections of poetry, including Calamity's Quilt. Her work has appeared in hundreds of anthologies and journals worldwide, including Slow Trains Issue 1. She is a recent winner of the Kota Press Anthology Contest, and her poem Acrylic Thighs was featured at The United Nations Exhibit Hall in New York City. See more of her work at her Web site.

Home Favorites Links Guidelines About Us



Subscribe to the Slow Trains newsletter