c r o s s
c o n n e c t
t u r n i n g f i s h
J A N E T B U C K
You had your seatbelt on for death --
but this was obsidian night
and I was virtually blind.
I wasn't about to drive you there.
Those last two days, where flesh
was fish about to turn --
and the river of time
ran slowly like wax
when the candle just knows
a wick is facing the horrible pinch.
Your breasts, their alabaster twins
in speckled hills, settled some
above the jails of your ribs.
A crusty negligee of gauze
grazing the clottable vein.
A morphine drip for summer showers
in August heat so stifling
it could be ovens locked on clean.
Minutes fell in tacky wigs --
exposing the bald, bald dome.
A spider trace of gray-white hair
locked itself around my hand
like fingers of a hungry child.
A book lay on my useless lap --
a rag that smelled of turpentine
to hurry the colorless dawn.
Prayers were there, but peeling things --
lousy maids who smoked cigars,
who didn't scrub between the cracks.
Your skin had that tortilla texture --
knowledge of the crumbling.
I stared at the mirror --
afraid of the chilling soup --
my reticent eyes locked on glass,
on portals of the sluggish fly.
© crossconnect, inc 1995-2002
published in association with the
university of pennsylvania's
kelly writers house