Makeup makes the lie and I’m afraid of your bleach
my legs/the trees open. To motivate myself
I dream Kim Novak white lights in the clouds      the self-control suicide note.
Memory is a construct and you make it complacent
say I’ll fall off the high dive            break my head or my neck.
I dream winter in summer           a pink horse and your brain
                   fawning in the cold river.
Makeup motivates the blonde-stopping time the impossible night
            already on           dead clouds and the clown car
tire tracks                the bloody ship we dress up
                or down so we search for his tie-tack.
So many blondes got forgotten
            but the ruby one with the gun          got hit head on.
I went through a phase when I wanted nothing but pretty
                   so much to look at
but always the haunt of the clock.
                       I gave myself limits   lying the dolls out     gust, dusky velvet
brushing their curls.
The clock’s face was a woman
                 tan, thick-lipped and funny
a woman who swam in a checkered bikini
                   the bubble bath bottles shaped like southern belles
bobbing around her.                The self-help book tells me
                she has intimate value
she bobs in bed like a doll
                      memory is a construct
and your life’s not a wall.
I used to think if I touched your book with two fingers
                    it would keep you from dying
but your lump itself was a planet
                     and I’m not any saner. I just won’t say foster hunger
unmoving, existing.
                  Enlighten the daughter but I’m not any saner
 and there’s a skull in the garden               and the only solution
is jewelry or furs              or intense preoccupation.
I reenact her bleach            her lack of personal hygiene
           I fall off the ladder
and hello, I feel dread                 a crescent moon beauty mark on my cheek
                 or your orange wig head
and I throw your skull in the river
              and I light it up           by hope or by dope
and make it a cemetery.


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), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017),  Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), and Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming). Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010) is her first full-length collection. You can read more of her poetry at