Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Calling the Whiskey Roses

Calling the Whiskey Roses

By Martha Janson

It’s always afternoon, father, you
dragging a wooden chair across the kitchen
like a hunter with the carcass of a kill.
Hauled to the edge of the forest.

Chair wedged in the doorway
between two rooms, you begin to drink.
Tainted sunlight. Head tipped back
the gold in your mouth, burning.

Then the slowed withdrawal mouth
gone slack around the bottle.
The loosening of the throat
each link of the chain you swallowed.

Then your hand reaching for the radio;
its small glow an ignited coal.
The easy slide of the dial.
Any music at all.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 73, No. 1 (Spring 1999), pp. 43-44


Martha Janson was a poet. Her poems appeared in Cream City Review, Peregrine, and Salamander.

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