Topaz/Ritz Dumbo

Barge music. Shush, war chalet

            terrarium cages, lamb ears.

Pink panties cry rage                my doppelganger

            wheeling a baby.      Shadows make my arms skinny

crescent moon motion sickness.


                                    I’m sad, slightly active             time-of-my-life

                                    too many charm bracelets        planets and radishes dangling off.


                        I know all the old songs

not about to catch fire             but I could get naked.

                        I’ve flaked and I’ve ghosted                 mastered that hard city look

            bought curlers at Ricky’s                     curled my hair like a flapper’s

                        come back with cream cheese              fringe and disease

            and my mother said                 you’re not getting old


but it’s about time                    and death, an unfolding

            the bay spiders riding strands across Gramercy Park

black sequins in bed                 the hysteria

            of tiny waists.              Shy on the phone


in my black negligee                knowing men are outside

            a strawberry streak in my sheets

asking how do you stand         a leopard-print tanktop

            a land where modest girls walk

pill bottles giving                     new depth to the beach.


                        I’m trying too hard       I’m not trying hard enough

                                    my mother said a helicopter

                        above the smallpox hospital

                                    and Sabbath be a cannibal

                                    another bride walks by.






Jessie Janeshek's second full-length book of poems, The Shaky Phase, is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press. Her chapbooks are Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming, 2017). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection.



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