The Lost Ark by Janet I. Buck
You were always the weed
in Mother’s manicured grass.
Some noise outside the opera box
with all its velvet, gilded shams
and curtains pinched quite evenly.
Defiantly laced in long red hair—
its flame a light on Sunset Strip
that hardly belonged in our tiny town
of predictable oaks and quiet streets.
Your steel guitar and brassy sax
didn’t fit with napkins in their napkin rings,
with long-stemmed goblets
poised upon the cherrywood.
Mother mails you a bible and socks
and the package comes back “refused.”
Nothing gets in and out of this room
but droning bugs with short, sad lives.
Hunger for weather, famine for fact.
I cannot stand imaginings:
a shaking robin wet with rain,
no nest in sight, but mucky straw
of men who’ve bottomed out,
raped some flighty teenage girl,
stolen a car, gone nowhere as well
down loneliness road.
We all used some escape to lighten
the tonnage of self, but you broke rules
over your knocking knees,
married our ghosts again and again,
knitted them into your brow.
Even money’s stable ark
failed in the current’s rage.
How did you get to this place
where glory is a simple fix,
a case of beer, just any bridge
skinny but above the sea.
The cell door slams and locks;
everyone has keys but you.