September 2002 / Volume Three / Issue One
Janet I. Buck
The Meat Locker

I plan a luncheon on the terrace,
dust the outdoor furniture,
scrub dropping from our cedar chairs,
consider ways we bleach our blahs,
suck on nipples of a bottle
better than our sagging breasts.
I won’t wear shorts, my legs would show–
their licorice stains on perfect teeth,
their bad breath times and foul balls.

I chill the wine, sniff its cork,
wishing I were pouring milk,
lacy acidophilus belonging to
a loaf that rises in reward
to hunger’s fraught menagerie.
When love arrives, it’s cold in here.
Ghosts on meat hooks draw no flies.
Sun ball’s wilted marigold is not enough
to thaw these icebergs
practiced like piano keys.

Quiet streams of consciousness
hide their ripples in a smile,
the pasted kind that stores
our sadness out of reach.
My books sit lonely on the shelf,
their paper wombs
packed with crusty semen spots,
their fusillades, their brewing bombs,
their tree trunks and their derelicts.

So much of me you dance around
like fences on a velvet lawn.
We talk about the Middle East,
pornography in cyber-space,
the rising cost of paper clips.

“My beer mug has a hole,” you say
and I replenish yellowness
wistfully as servants spread
palatial ground with petals
of a scissored rose.
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