Four Poems

Karie Buss

Scrambled Uterus

If you keep on touching yourself
all your eggs will fall out,
warned Dorothy's mother.
Months later, because of a rattle in her abdomen,
Dorothy went to her doctor for inspection.
Elbow-deep, her doctor discovered something lodged
in her vagina, "Hum, I see..."
We'll have to shake it out.
Stand in the stirrups."
The doctor stood on the bed
behind Dorothy, hands on her hips,
shaking furiously.Underneath Dorothy,
a crouched nurse peered up, cup in one hand,
lid in the other, hoping to catch the lodged object.
The shaking continued,
"I've got it!" screeched the nurse.
The nurse transferred the object to a glass tube.
"It's your egg," the nurse smiled,
as she handed Dorothy the vial.
"You can keep it in your freezer,
until you're ready to have a child."
Dorothy placed the tube in her cleavage,
for safekeeping, and headed home.

Cake Foundation

My house was taken by a tornado,
so I rebuilt one out of cake.
I baked 354 cakes,
and mortared each 8x13 brick together
with frosting. I even painted the walls
with frosting. At first,
my house stayed clean.
Eventually toenail clippings and loose hairs
began to stick to the walls.
They captured the occasional spider.
For entertainment, I projected
informational films about the digestive system
onto the walls of my house.
The human stomach floated over frosting.
My neighbors came to watch.
One day, after returning home
from a day of work,
I found only half my house
and five smiling neighbors,
their faces covered in frosting.


Andy, it's gonna be one hell of a winter.
The trees glued back on their leaves
and my dog got hair-extensions.
My house even knows this,
and has started storing fat,
by eating more people than usual.
When I open my front door,
people lying on the floor,
fill the living room--
one pulsating sheath of skin.
To make way to my room,
I step on stomachs and kneecaps.
I crack the occasional knuckle.
My room sure is warm.
An old woman found refuge there.
She sits in the corner
reciting the coupon pages
and contemplates her purse,
and you,
left your coat back home.

The Tunnel Room

A janitor dug a tunnel beneath
the school six-feet in circumference,
in the shape of President Lincoln's profile.
In the place of Lincoln's mole,
there was a square room large enough
for three people to sit comfortably.

To insulate the walls,
the janitor boiled wads of chewed gum and deflated
in a caldron until they reached
the consistency of caramel.
The gray goo was then lacquered
on the tunnels with a mop.

To make the room cozier,
the janitor papered the walls with pages torn
from old arithmetic books.
On the pages were pictures
of cherub-faced boys and girls.
The janitor's favorite pages
were the story problems.
For example:
Sally has three apples.
At recess, Sally kicks Jimmy in the shin
and takes two apples.
Jimmy is very sad.
How many apples does Sally have?
The correct answer would be five.

The janitor furnished the room with
a small child-sized chair
and an upside-down tin trashcan for a table.
After its completion,
the janitor lived in the tunnel.
To light the tunnel,
he had a yellow flashlight
and an ice-cream bucket full of double-D batteries.

For a while, he lived quite comfortably.
He passed the time reading
the wall coverings and counting earthworms.
He died after a month's residency.
The mailman discovered him there
(His mail had been rerouted to the tunnel.
He mostly received tractor catalogs
and credit card offers).

The tunnel became the janitor's tomb,
his wife saw no sense in moving him
since he was already underground.

Karie Buss lives in a room in Iowa City with bats in the walls.