January 2003 / Volume Four / Issue One
Janet I. Buck
Very Little Chamomile

Acres of mute gray walls
and white rectangular beds.
No couples–  just one chipped cup
next to another's loneliness.
Green tanks and tubes
for grass and rain.
Nurses and aides all work–
based on the itch to leave.
The canyon moan, the
nostril's echo of barbarous times.
Each uttered word a pocket
I could fall inside if I stopped.

Boxes of chocolates
run into their puddles of guilt,
delivered and left
in pinches of sunlight
streaming through blinds.
All this voodoo has failed.
My distant love and wish feel cheap.
There really is no chamomile–
just legs and arms
under the sheets like wet cigars.
A check for the rent refusing
to coddle the withering hand.
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