Author: Jessie Janeshek

Sewing and singing
and bringing up baby
pansies, I wipe

the dirt-rot
off of their faces.
Where you’ve brought

me, I wear garish
nightshirts under
brown bathrobes.

My wedding
ring sequesters
me, island

of recycled sand.
Where fall swears
winter, old leaves

scratch our walk.
Like years, a whip
of wind scars

a sky more alive
than you. And I

(a rush of burning
hair I dye brown,

the recipe
for immortality).
I grow my herbs

in this fenced-in
yard where

plants inbreed
and weaken.
(On my island,

you’d part my branches,
find small glowing
eggs that make

prisms of sand grains.
You’d squint when my
light untwisted

in your hand). Don’t
demand to dip in, rinse
off your days (my blue

pools, green silken
rills). You don’t
deserve to find

yourself again
in me (these tropical bulbs
buried all over—you’d

hunt my colors


Jessie Janeshek’s first collection of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010).

In 2008, she co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers.

You can read more about her at

The lady Helen
[cried out] at the sudden sight of the heavenly sign,
and these were her words to Odysseus’ son:
“Telemachus, this is surely some messenger from on high,
flown down through the fathomless air and gone
screeching away with the voice of killing death.
Even thus will Odysseus appear in your house
…by the will of Athena.
[But if you thin]k “this is but a chattering crow”,
me, I will not hold you here…
–Stesichorus, fr. 209

What I mean is don’t go
though I know
you need to. I must

go, too. I’ve got my legacy
of gleaming
to make. From crystalline

braids to powdered-
cream feet,
I’ll be all golden, crushed

on a vase, the face-
side of coins. What a hell
of a bone structure,

they’ll say someday,
won’t know the olive-black lashes
raying my light

purple eyes are just fakes. And, yes,
it’s only a bird.
All it means is everything

ugly and true.
If your father’s alive,
you’ll have some years,

and he’ll die.
I’ll go, then you
into holes

dark as crows.
It means if you lie
in the leaves

with me and listen,
our cries
will snag on the sky.