Today's poem is by Julianne Buchsbaum

Still Life with Rooms People Live In


Another squat, windowless morning
murmurs on its industrial hook.

Outside, the moon is a flatbed truck
filled with the leftover ice of night,

and alder trees keep going nowhere,
dressed in droplets, globes of scum.

Our daily menu begins crushing out
bomb shelters, electric blankets.

Waiting for your hands, morning spits
me out over cratered staple factories,

poisoned black clouds. Waiting for your
hands: two birds going nowhere, dressed

in tin—they know so well how to sleep.


Lampposts, silhouetted in amber shafts,
slowly begin to rust. So very slowly,

the nurse I love begins to withdraw her offer
of foghorns, seafoam, mentholated pine.

I don't care, don't care how quickly
the star-eaten machinery of these South

Chicago steel mills disappears. The bridge
between us is an x'ed-out exhaust fume.

Faintly, nursed by hard plastic,
your sickbed genuflections reach me

unripened. When you bend to read it,
your daily menu darkens quietly

as alder trees gather power in the rain.


Night, grotesque, organic, unfolds
into the palm of a dropped puppet.

It's Friday evening, and the future is
again a faceless nurse who withdraws

when I rise to take what she offers.
Men curse the bad angles of broken

machines, bleed droplets in arcs
of carbon residue. I have no idea

how to sleep, how boarded-up bomb
shelters gather power in the rain.

We live in a room where, so very
slowly, my finger to your lips,

you suffer the distance between us.

Copyright © 2012 Julianne Buchsbaum All rights reserved
from The Apothecary's Heir
Penguin Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Support Verse Daily
Sponsor Verse Daily!

Home    Archives   Web Weekly Features    About Verse Daily   FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily   Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2012 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved