Father bought you a house
as a little white lie —
a promise that voices of hope
were louder than labels on slides
that tossed you in the cancer wing,
made his eyes report those tears
then file them under guarded strength.
Muscles pressed against
your exit hovering
until the pen just tore the check.
These walls went from a glove
to five little pockets
minus five fingers that moved.
Your death did this.
The sofa, in its albatross of memory,
became an untouchable ruin.
The mattress a slab of lukewarm coal,
a scrapbook to slam, haul to the curb
in the velvet of midnight rain.
Lyrics peck at art once there,
but he brushes the meal away.
When I ask about your shape,
he plays down long piano hands.
Plays down crickets of your laugh.
Your grave cut out his tongue.
Your leaving scorched a knuckle’s curve —
the veins of which another woman
couldn’t bring back to rivers they were.
When pupils try not to talk,
they jitterbug around a lawn
like scattered seeds.
I can only imagine the green and the lush —
amour of such a caliber
it works like silencers for guns.
This is the score of a wish with holes.
Scars you left are made of stone.
by Janet I. Buck