Jessie Janeshek

Orifice                Overture                Our Horsekeeper’s Daughter

Yvonne saw life through low-knobbed Dutch doors
                could have grown up
a parasoled whore                          dead from cancer.

Pre-shatter, she’s glimpsing       one geisha wig

                one asp                                 one                       bombardier jacket.

Loose Jezebel, Zephyr
                                              make do with two scoops
of alkaline                                                                                           dull sewing needles
                                                                 one “time is a horserace.”

Even in pieces                                                                   Yvonne can’t forget it.

Musée Poupée

Jezebel and Zephyr prie-dieued on rugs
                                                             trading lace gloves
                               blueberry doilies
and St. Germaine prayer cards embroidered with pearls.

                                              In one illustration
                                                 the candleflames lulled
                               the lavender stars                above Germ’s febrile shoulders

                                                                                                          brown hair, cello eyes
                                                                                                                         and a lamb face
                                                                                                          no more than a mother could love.

                               The two bebés catechized berry
                                              as the Battenberg ghosts burned Germaine down and out
                               sprinkled her velveteen ash in the fireplace.

How to Imagine Zephyr in Summer

                Out of the house                                              needing to bleed
French girlette knock-kneed                                                   in striped stockings knocking

                something to prop up                                                 the jalousie windows

                                                             (I’ve been writing a lot
                                                             Jezebel mutters
                                                             breaking my blue spells
                                                             draining to yellow

                                                             a hairy woman named Beth
                                                             blonde bubble cut
                                                             big-lipped                             weeps the boat
                                                             steering my fever

Dust’s making everyone                struggle                unsneeze
                as Zephyr swims up from the grave to shout “firefly!”

Not so hard to make such a life

                                              unspeakable cabins                                              everything rose-rot

                                                             (The hirsute nurse warns me, stay safe
                                              but desperate thoughts tentacle
                                                             take the shape of this sickness
                                                                            under the clock…

Chronopoem Contrejour

In this version, Zephyr taxis toward cabaret

icily cramming                                                  the mimes in the rear of the catcar

Tap dancing                               fruit planted                                              one pinky on piano

                Jezebel’s sweating past decadent

                                                                                  treble tropigal threat

Jessie Janeshek's first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and Director of Writing Across the Curriculum at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008).
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