Back to Janet Buck's Artist PageTo the Artist's Page               Back to the Unlikely Stories home pageTo our home page
Like BrieTo Janet Buck's previous piece     Lost NickelsTo Janet Buck's next piece

The Empty Bed

          "When you sleep in your clothes, it's not really sleep,
           it's waiting for dark to be light."
          --Jennifer Lauck

That's how we were. Never quite safe.
I'd sleep in a robe up to my chin
clamped on the cotton like Tupperware lids.
Summer moons were cashew curls
outside the drapes. Whole and plump,
beyond the arduous reach.
I wonder now, these acres
of a queen-sized bed seem 
to house jesters in black and white 
mocking my rivers of blood.
The mattress is smiling 
with lines of our lies -- 
their garlic still fresh 
as witches we were.

Under my ribs, the fist and the vein
consider this sorrow a home. 
Crushing the acorn at dusk
does nothing to center a sickly tree.
The forest forgetting the snow
will have to remain a journey of suns
rolling their pennies over the ice.
My reading lamp extends its arm -- 
its shadow makes war like a sword. 
Mud packs ride my tired eyes;
I finger a sonnet of lace where 
strangling roots once choked the dirt.
Next I'll braid the scrawny daisies
stripped of oblong ivory.
I've folded the lips of new sheets --
pretty side up --
replaced the pillows you weren't.

To the top of this pageTo the top of this page