In a Pure State We Enter

Image © Faith Eliott 2015


by Jessie Janeshek October 12, 2015

              ice floes                         pantyhose
fat thighs                                         gravy fries.
What’s in a past life?               Wood rot
                a bonfire         papier-mâché?
In a pure state we enter           a beige-flowered slipdress
        sad worlds of cats throwing up.
It’s 3 a.m. and the one-armed               ex-girl needs a ride
        a red hookup or a barbershop choir
                                                        sunglasses in black halls
                the danger of underrate.
                              We fed off leather, lived and died with the longball.
                                            We fed off each other
                                            until the tree fell on what wanted to happen.
                              We twisted our ankles
                                            planting rhinestones                 like glittery suicides
                                            in the sunflowers out by the high school—
It’s 3 a.m. and the cowboy
                drapes the saguros                     in gold-plated chains.

In a pure state you hand me
                a beer               a barbiturate.

Jessie Janeshek‘s first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008). You can read more of her poetry at


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