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   t h e    i c e    b u c k e t

--- J A N E T   B U C K

A fine martini with its straw
wasn't busy burning barns,
just rendering comfort its aching dew.
Cool it was, at outset's plan.
A game of purposeful emptiness
leaving us wondering what was said.
Cheeks of red mosaic tile--
bottles for trips to Sunday Mass.
Take a swig and settle in.
Pour another runaway.
Legal junkies on a roll
between hung layers of our fat.

Preserved in sweet formaldehyde. Through glass of witness, pinch of envy's cinnamon in tea I sip at thoughtfully, sobriety's mattress, poking wires minus exit pillow case, I push back cuticles and cry at narrow marrow growing thin. The bucket itself sports algae of regrettable times, spirals down our unclimbed stairs. Orange suns we didn't eat. Eggs of grief we could not crack.

Perfumed body bath of booze. Whiskey stained our teeth like smoke. Permissible poverty leaving rings on wobbling old mahogany. No DUIs, no joblessness, so we were fine. Godiva chocolates living in the box they bought. Cognac by a toasty hearth. Acceptable opals set in prongs made with streaks of frozen fire.

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