Down thirty creaking, dusty stairs,
the wall safe struck us as eclipse.
Its jet black metal stood for
capsuled mysteries beyond thin tea cups
of our hands -- novels with words
bigger than eyes, a book,
an urge, a jeweled myth forbidden us.
Maybe someone hid a skull.
Maybe letters, juicy ones
of torrid, greasy love affairs
lay folded under potpourri.
Maybe someone danced a little,
dropped a shoe.
Our tiny gray pajama feet
squeaked with rubber, slid the planks.
Turn and guess. Fingers curved.
Maybe beauty grew an arm,
wrote a memo, left it here.
Upstairs the gin and tonics flowed;
we could hear an argument
erupting like a blowing cork.
It had to do with Mother sulking
days in bed, taking pills
for shuttles to another world.
We liked it here
in the warm thermos of dreams.
Dark was silk; upstairs was wool.
Copyright © 2003 Janet Buck