Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two poems by Janet Doggett


He stands in the small corner yard

in a carpet of mown-over clover

like a guardsman among her things

packed tightly in cardboard cages,

watching her go.

His eyes damp, a bent smile –

She stands on the sidewalk

on a black grungy crack

Turning to go,

her long red hair a vixen’s flame,

She looks back over her shoulder

Her green eyes are flint that strike sparks

And light a fire in the sky.

Film Noir

Lightning strikes and an old oak splits in two.

Mother stops ironing; hovers above a badly

wrinkled landscape. Dad bangs in the door bringing

with him the sweet smell of gardenias.

Crosses the den in three long steps.

Picks up the screaming phone that is tethered

to the wall with a spiral cord. Caroline,

with her ebony hair and Snow White face, is dead.

Extracted from a pile of twisted metal and broken glass;

she survived for two short December days.

A Christmas Eve funeral. Ice encapsulates

Every rose falling from her casket.

That night and for the next 29 years,

she speaks to me in dreams. Always sitting in a green-painted,

wooden chair. The room, plain and dark, she turns to me:

Her face becomes a movie reel, shows details of a life I didn’t know

all that well: tent camping on white-sand beaches in France, dancing ballet

with grace and fluidity, a tender first time making love, and a rape

last year on the Country Club’s freshly mowed lawn.

She turns to me and plays for me a Christmas

Special: “Things Worse Than Death

The hot, naked paunch of a filthy man

suspended over you. The sweat from

his hair falling in your eyes, his

fluid tacky, pooling on your stomach

and inside your ripped underwear,

the cool, slick edge of a sharp knife

meeting the thin skin at your neck so that you

swallow all screams
Janet Doggett has a master’s degree in creative writing from Texas Tech University and has had many creative nonfiction essays published in journals, most notably, So-to-Speak and Tangent. Also, she has published essays on websites such as and The New England Writer’s Society. A poem, Death, Maybe? recently was published (#20) in Drown In My Own Fears. Three poems are to be published through scar publications in Down in the Dirt magazine in March 13, April 13 and May 13. In 2003, I won the best writing award as a graduate student at the Albuquerque Pop Culture Conference. I live in Massachusetts.

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