Day turns like chugging dryers.
Time, a simple laundromat.
Put a quarter in a dream.
Watch the heat destroy
the cotton of the field.
Hours in wads too big to churn.
He reads a tattered address book,
scratching off the names
of friends who’ve
beat him to a pending grave.

Heel up. Hold.
Think. Be brave.
He sets it down
in aging’s wax–
on saucer earth
sliding out from under will.
His back creaks–
a carriage of sorts
in hardened snow.

White cane wearing consumes–
will there be islands outside
quicksand, struggling?
Body bales can smell
the rain, smell
the sugar of the frost.

Janet Buck has a Ph.D. in English and teaches writing and literature at the college level. Her poetry, poetics, and fiction have appeared in numerous journals, including The Melic Review, 2River View, Urban Spaghetti, and PIF Magazine. In 1998, 1999, and 2000, she won numerous creative writing awards and was a featured poet in such publications as Seeker Magazine, Vortex, Poetry Super Highway, and Cafe Society. Two of Janet’s poems have been nominated for this year’s Pushcart Prize in poetry, and she is a recipient of the H.G. Wells Award for Literary Excellence. In December 1999, Newton’s Baby Press released her first print collection of poetry, entitled Calamity’s Quilt. Her first e-book of poetry, Reefs We Live, is now available through Word Wrangler Publishing. Janet’s website address is

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