Séance Says Thursday (or Killed by an Owl)

          Jupiter in the side room      sunset barbiturates
                      hard card to my mood ring and Thursday was always
          my happiest day    believing in cattails
                      the paper doll in the parking lot
                                                  in the hills what we hid
          that I could grow up to be good
                      and now purple meat isn’t worth refrigeration
          and now downtown fish     on the Lady of the Lake
                      a small divide         I can’t vanish
          and I get the dropping out
                      but not the foam curlers    diamonique at the courthouse.
          Now I’m the money magnet          on Melody Lane
                      second rate ash blonde         boop-a-doop flapper
          now all the ermine is on ice behind a stone wall
                      and your death rhythms are harder to take.

                      They beat me up and made me a new nose
          but help I can’t put the thickest needle through you.
                      I sleep in my basement next to the dictophone
          your play doctor’s case/flush out the toxins.
                      I don’t believe god          but I buy little fates.
          I might be made
            of red satin or money      I might be Angel Face
          traversing the slag heap. This is my bad rap
                      but is it time to go yet? You apply tension
          and I think you love me    I put on the skirt
          with a femme fatale label             still look second rate.

                      I never slept on Fire Island. Now August double digits
          not enough rope             and too many movies
                      now lonely place             a shattered rib focus
          and sour apples      the fake aviary
                      the Kleenex I shove under my lips.
          You hit me with the plastic reflex hammer
                      turn the fake thermometer to fever
          tap the plastic stethoscope          your ovaries shrank like a stone
                      and I promise you a mod house 30 miles from everywhere
          I sun bake naked in the rock garden
                      but then at 5 a.m. I hide my doll
                      don my black wrap          long, warped horns
                      harness my black dog
          and haunt all the yards.

Lady in the Lake Séance Loop

          Maybe a green pen          at the bootlegger club
                       and what’s the password?       Maybe a gun
          rustling through leaves       impending storm
                       maybe a private dick yin    to my pitchfork yang.

                       Did I recognize it yet? Braless, back
          when I had time for eyemakeup sexy alerts
                       now I’m sleeping short since I know time is over
                       sore-throated with mildew efficiency.

                       You curse your feminine energy
          I curse low-hanging branches      corpse flowers in the Bronx
                       the summer-house shift.
                       I can’t satisfy time. I can’t stiffen you.

          Neither of us should be trusted
                       in the log cabin     playing the piano.
          It’s all gut-wrenching       and neither knows knots
          and I want to be that rare bird       looking at the camera
                       or in the mirror black-eyed
          no cartoon porkchop      swinging in survival          after owl attacks.

                       I can’t satisfy time. I twist my hair up
                                    it looks better in prose
          and poke through glittery Xmas cards
                       wrapped in repetitive silk.             I pour snow in the cracks.

          Murders are always prettier        with mistaken identities
                       velvet ribbons, hot pokers, and hymns
          but I’m not equipped.             I don’t own madcap
                       but I wish I did.

                       I’ll disguise myself as the landlady
          in a plaid-vinyl apron              long-nosed plastic mask.
                       You’re wounded. I feed you pre-code baby food
          ring around and around your convictions.

                       You said you’d power through
          and I said I’d pretend to be the dame on the fritz
                       who held the hot smoking pistol.

Jessie Janeshek’s third full-length book of poems MADCAP is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press in 2019. Her six chapbooks include Channel U, forthcoming in 2019 from Grey Book Press. WEB.