Jessie Janeshek

Grateful for Dissonance/This Month of Strong Thinking

I’m in love with your new hair
    and lopsided breasts
    the need to be spanked
    want to take you at night
    in this pocket of plush
    swallow bird spikes in long stockings.

I squeeze my thighs shut
    tremble above    the punches and blood.

The mood of my corpse
    does not matter in saccharine
    mouthfuls of pills.

The snakes wear the bedclothes as capes
    as I hesitate
    to burn the wench costume
    wean myself off polar sleep.

Snake Rhyme/Snake Magic

     I graduate violence                               your blood wolf at breakfast
sausaged, heavy-metaled                              in my Cure sweatshirt.

                                              as you ring the bedstead
                               watching soap operas                 prom pictures reflected
                                                             on the face of the wall Swatch

                                              as you eat the space cakes
                                              side ponytail crimped

                                                                            your strawberry lip gloss oleaginous
                                                                            in its red carrying case.

                Our mother’s pink-robed
                               her hair frayed like a hound in a bad country ballad

                               and I no longer believe in your deep cuts
                               your Magic Moves Barbie                 your hot pink play bus.

                                                             The dead school girl interpolates
                                                                      marry         fuck           kill

                                              wills us her innocent
                                              Love’s Babysoft scents

                                                                            but our neighbor boy moons us
                                                                            calls you nightgown whore
                                                                            ignoring your backbrace.

Remember How Sex

sparked in the fry pan
my husband passed on?
We cauterized
the cobbler’s baba
and his bullet wound?
We shot ourselves
some marginal rabbit?
We bottled the toddler
shut the two-headed kitten
in a cigarette case?
I knew I could trust
our three lumps, your smoke
and my buckshot. Then you
ate my faith with a spoon.

There Is an Old Woman

refusing                               jade-fingered
                to break for small deaths
as we hang naked                from rings in the basement

over the toolbench the puppet collection
                the orange beanbag             Dad’s catfood
                               the vein diagram.

Menstruation’s convivial madness
little red riding.                It gives us surrealism

a blue-themed moon pounding
a bridge, locust-crisp

a Saint Catherine’s wheel
to fill in when we don’t need a nanny.                She steers too shaky
her blood-streaked hair gamey.

She screams graveyard!
and in our bedroom                   the Cabbage Patch Kids
reach out to touch                      their lavender flares.

We spray-paint them itchy
                stick-pin-pierce their ears.

We shoplift tears and a glittery haircut
rocks in our eyes. And the lawnmower blade

                decapitates                the kitsch jewelry maker
                and we’re so scared of pipesmoke and potions

                that the Cure sweatshirt
                will make a parachute

as we jump iridescent
from the cardboard age.

It Gets to Where I Eat

nothing and drink whiskey.
    Dolly shreds the funny papers
    the big girl scrubs brown cups
    the puppy in the stockyard
    barking bitterness and fat.

It gets to where I ricochet
    between a triangle, an eyepatch
    and the milkmaid sorts the curses
    begs me to unpack.

Dolly will not mop, the barn’s orange anatomy
soft as a Nerf ball.

It gets to if you loved me
    you would stage my loneliness
 throw me to the rain
let the grass concern and the wasps’ nest shriek.

You would hold my hair back
outside at the gravesite

where birds eat acetaminophen
    and there’s no time like this present
red dogs on the fence.

Snake Rhyme

There was an old woman

on our fainting couch

We called yellow foxes

with olive parabolas.

came to advise

in the gummy autumnal.

said No Ouija when you’re sick

so drop a rock on her blank grave

but we let Dolly’s fossils

before we cried pulpit

and she snowglobed Dolly.

clinking our leashes

There was an old woman

rutting, proper sunlight

She put mom in the thermometer

and Dolly is your gutter culprit

and chalk sex on the concrete

sing the blues inside her cage.

Jessie Janeshek's chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming, 2017). Her full-length collection of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College (West Virginia, USA), 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). You can read more of her poetry at jessiejaneshek.net.
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