Long, long flight in armpits
That horrid pressing heaviness
like early ceilings of a grave.
The luggage carousel
as crowded as a tuna can.
Home was just exhaustion's casket
feeling warm and cozy cold.
I grabbed what I thought
was black and mine,
rolled it through the parking lot.
Unpacking seemed a tedious thing--
my suitcase sat like homework stacked
for obligation's morning light.
I pulled at clips and time released.
This muddled mess I did not own:
stench of dirty underwear,
a lusty book on male mystique;
inside-outed shrunken sweaters,
muddy slippers, torn old robe;
pantyhose like tourniquets;
an address book with tons
of family in its sleeves.
I had that gorging guilt attack
for sifting someone else's flour;
shaking down a nosy oak for
some new brand of autumn leaves.
I wondered if the nameless one
had done the same with what I was:
walked right in on nakedness;
fallen in a full-length mirror;
peeked in private diaries;
stepped in hardly virgin snow.
Janet Buck teaches writing and literature at the college level. Her poetry and poetics have appeared in The Melic Review, The Pittsburgh Quarterly, Kimera, 2River View, Tintern Abbey, Southern Ocean Review, Niederngasse, Lynx: Poetry from Bath, The Horsethief's Journal, salon D'Art, and hundreds of journals world-wide. In 1998 and 1999, she has won numerous creative writing awards and has been a featured poet for Seeker Magazine, Poetry Today Online, Vortex, Conspire, Poetry Cafe, Dead Letters, the storyteller, Poetry Heaven, Athens City Times, Poetik License, 3:00 AM e-zine, Poetry Super Highway, and Carved in Sand. Buck's poem entitled "Bones & Borders" was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry.