Poem: Jessie Janeshek

Switchboard operator/

Life Gets Stuck in the Hush-Hush

but I don’t want to give up
            the rusty switchboard
the brief slot I have

and I don’t know her process
            through look-at-me-pink
                heart-shaped sunglasses
            therefore I am jealous

                                                and I need rice-based static
                                                a break in this rain
                                                and I need background music
                                                and I need woundy pinups
                                                moonblue plastic ponies

and I run my sadness                        along the red stethoscope
    as I primp to sell you                        war poems door-to-door.
She washes my hair                        every so often
      mumbling something                        about a stuffed Jesus

peachy reflexes            a blue plastic comb
            embossed with a seahorse            that it’s her dead son’s birthday

                        and Baby Bianca                        has lost all her curls
            and I don’t want to give up
thick lines, transatlantic            cloth diapers

                                    the phone call that ate all my days.
                                    Your prayers      strike guilt
                                                down my leg            and every so often

                                                I think you’re the one
                                                I can’t cross.
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).

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