Jessie Janeshek

It’s Hard to Believe Anything in Your Life Could Be Clean

between your legs                    something came in me
            I kept dreaming                       Vivian Darkblood
not really knowing                    if it was the fog over the house
            or the dead blonde in the tree
or the brass ship in the bedroom          pushing your horsehead away
            your brand of cigarettes           sunglasses cherry.
I kept dreaming the words                    Vivian Darkblood
            kept dreaming the playground             something to run toward.
                                                I wanted to freeze
                        their soft nest to death.

What was it with children and money and fights
             a song written in only one octave
a doctor or Vivian Darkwood?

I swallowed and sparkled and sprawled out
              but the dream was so loud
like a hive moving on.

                                                  The dream made the crime a cult classic
                        and I lied and said                    I knew abandonment
                                    summer-shine body mist          China or Christ
                        or my middle name. I wore striped chambray
                                    a tail rough and glimmer
                        the phantom killing a couple               on Lover’s Lane.
                                                But I knew theosophy                         that preparation’s the key
                        to long-lasting color.
                                                            The case was cold        but it remained open
                                    fileted on the longest day         my body still warm.

Jessie Janeshek's second full-length book of poems is The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017). Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia, (dancing girl press, 2016), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Supernoir (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. Read more at