Winter 2000

Doug Tanoury
Lenny DellaRocca
J Andrew Clark
Janet Buck
  · Cup Hooks
  · A Letter...
  · Unusual Quilts
Bill the Cat
Lawrence Norton
Bill Koeb

George Pratt
Aidan Butler
Steve Mullett
Alex Ward
Allison Landa
Colin Campbell

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Contributor Notes


Cup Hooks · A Letter... · Unusual Quilts

A   L E T T E R   T O   A   M O T H E R
I   N E V E R   K N E W

Janet Buck

For Margaret Kurtz Buck

I imagine your hair
in a sweet roll bun.
My father standing spellbound
by its cinnamon scent.
Unpinning its tresses with eager eyes.
Picking out a brand new home
in an effort to buy bad cancer out.
A world of love revolving
on an empty bobbin spinning
its way toward burials
a doctor saw but could not stop.
He must have despised those hospital halls--
cold segues to eternity.

Your red lips parted and firm
like tendrils of an octopus.
Muggy sex with every moment
drying as you gathered wits.
Your arms fumbling behind your back,
knotting an apron beside the stove.
Hauling my bright white body cast
up stairs that stretched like sloppy snakes.
Leaning on those final suppers--
bibles and shrouds of smiles in tact--
martini olives in a drink
on toothpicks made of troubled times.

My father never speaks of you.
Grieving thieves of vacant lots
are red ants crawling up a tree.
I wonder if you fought black death,
creme de la creme de diable stoked,
finding a place, a cubby hole,
to hug your youth before that
unearned exit won and loving him
was re-runs of a musical
with Casablanca's fog in tow.

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