I understand the need to run --
that urge to blame
the forest for the searing fire.
You want a sun and moon to blend.
You want the stirrups of the stars
to hold your waffling feet in place.
You want a balance
borrowed from some chemical.
I gather bits of monologue
across the wires of the phone;
it all comes down to desperation
planting thorns, slicing off
the petals of a yellow rose.
I'm well-acquainted with their barbs.
Your slurring voice, a bathroom mirror --
I know the steam's arithmetic.
Life, at times, I'll grant you this,
is lieder without harmony.
One moment you are wild and bitter.
Then the next, a cowering lamb
led to slaughter by the hope of lifting weights
with any gimmick handed you.
I did the same for fifteen years --
became the tincture of relief,
sadly bleached whatever rainbows
lay in wait between plump clouds.
I double-wrapped the bottles
in brown grocery bags
before I threw them in the trash.
I smelled the navels of the corks,
saw myself in chipping goblets
washed and dried and filled again.
Easy exits tease the mind,
then drop it like the last good egg.
Call me when the coffee's on
and darkness is definable.
Copyright © 2003 Janet Buck