Peacock Plumes

Janet I. Buck

Too many people hate these birds because of noise.
Myopia converts to loss—
a bucket full of muddy water to the rim.
I’ll trade the comfort of my ears for beauty
brushes cannot paint, in shades the sky
can’t copy/paste and we can’t make,
a touch of yellow, centers of a morning egg.

In Greek, a peacock stands for immortality.
In Hindu, it’s the circlet of the Lord Kartikeya,
god of war, yet born to steer the human mind
away from anger, ego, jealousy.
He has six heads to look around.
Peacock eyes he covets so are said
to be the “dots” applied to heaven’s “vault.”
For centuries we’ve searched that code,
always tried to write it down like license plates.

Just look and soak. Look and bask—
feed the birds fresh bites of corn and carrot shreds.
Peahens love a scrap of meat,
connoisseurs of every tender offering.
Females pick the strongest mate from ways a peacock
shifts its many, many eyes around the light, at different slants.
Every clue they give away can’t be words that tell a lie—
women in the courtship ring don’t wait
for withered roses on a step or diamonds in a ribboned box.

Inside the barn, hay is making both my lids
swell like soggy cheap balloons,
yet beauty’s inescapable.
I study all the multi-shades—electric blue,
periwinkle, indigo, a touch of gold,
a patch of teal spread evenly.
Let the colors varnish me with dreams
beyond a common skeleton, so drab
in hue, it could be dust and will be soon.
Even with glaucoma’s curse,
every pigment, every tint will percolate—

I stare at plumes,
release remainders of this world.
Janet Buck is a seven-time Pushcart Nominee & the author of four full-length collections of poetry. Buck’s most recent work is featured in The Birmingham Arts Journal, Antiphon, Offcourse, PoetryBay, Poetrysuperhighway, Abramelin, The Writing Disorder, Misfit Magazine, Lavender Wolves, River Babble, The Danforth Review & other journals worldwide. Her latest print collection of verse, Dirty Laundry, is currently available at all fine bookstores. Buck’s debut novel, Samantha Stone: A Novel of Mystery, Memoir & Romance, was released courtesy of Vine Leaves Press in September, 2016. Janet lives & writes in Southern Oregon—just hours away from Crater Lake, one of the seven wonders of the world. For links, announcements, and interviews with Janet, visit her new website: