Jessica L. Walsh

Guillotine, With Giraffe
The machine
made of simple machines—
pulley and plane,
the fundamental blade—
complicated into
needless stagecraft
for completing the break
she’d been awaiting.
She was built for killing,
her neck a soft and ready road
of arteries surging away
from her massive heart.
In truth she died weary
but no longer surprised
at the humans
and their fine details,
their back way to endings
that took twice as long.

Hold Me Till Friday
If any of you can surprise me with a new kind of crocus poem then I will mail you one hundred dollars.
–Sherman Alexie, September 2015
I need a crocus poem for the gas bill and a coke.
I’m sick for real
and a crocus–
it’s nothing to you anymore.
Be honest.
But remember when you needed it
and I had that one poem for you–
it was supposed to be for my kid
and I was there for you is what I’m saying.
It’s cold here and it’s getting worse.
Sometimes I think winter is fucking around,
like it wants to kill me.
So far I made it, you know?
But this year feels dicey.
That crocus could get me through,
maybe all the way to spring
when the daffodils come back to work.

Jessica L. Walsh is a poet and professor at a community college in suburban Chicago. Her first book, How to Break My Neck, was released earlier this year by ELJ. Her second collection, Banished, will be published later in 2017 by Red Paint Hill. She is also the author of two chapbooks. Her poems have been published recently in Whale Road Review, Tinderbox, Midwestern Gothic, Yellow Chair Review and more. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Bettering the Net.