Melanie Janisse in the HOOD

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The Freighters Are Running Sideways, The Hydrangeas Didn’t Take



The people talk too much here, in private, with their sippy cups of wine and their barking hounds in their yards. 

Closed porches and on their astroturf ones at night in the glow of computer screens. 


Nosemary from across the street stands on the porch screaming to me that my curtains are blowing out my upstairs window, screaming that my car windows are down.  Her window to my window.

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The River fractures a city grid and calls them two countries. Where the men fish. They fish the sickly fish, the suckers. The windbreakers. 

Blue and red the color of jujubes. 


She used to be my friend, until she wasn’t. Just like that. A little tiny ghost story.

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The border guards and dogs don’t play too much of a part, except when its time to cross. 

A schism with a strong current, laced with silly power boats and rusty massive lakers floating by like dinosaurs.  

Yellow teeth and picnics under big trees with tarot cards and Belmont Milds. It’s nice, except that the geese shit on the grass near the river, pretty much everywhere. Except for on your very yellow teeth. The geese stay away from there from what I can tell. 

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If the freighters ran sideways, would their ends scrape up against both shores? Would they get stuck? I planted a hydrangea bush in my yard last week, but it just won’t take. Too much city blood. The leaves are turning this high waxy green. They have a yellow about their edges. I am used to seeing trucks with food on them pull into the city streets. Once, I saw a truck covered in photographs of carrots. Stopped on Dufferin. 

She is sad. An old, fragile glass. 

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Pheasants and old recipes for mixed drinks with elderflower.                              

Who yellows and yellows and curls. Origami heart. A muscle cramp.             

A witches brew of friends who eat Ethiopian food in a small wicker circle.       

Little dog’s legs bald into river patterns as the mites come out. I put her cone on and brace for the long winter of subterfuge. 

She is sad like something brittle and dust-like. 

My dog’s dusty skin. 

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My friends are tents like in the desert with bells and elephants embroidered on the flaps. 

She is sad. A dog infested with spiders.

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On my dog walk just now, I found a dying hydrangea in a green plastic pot. It had been tossed into an old open trailer made out of wood behind someone’s garage. It was just after I saw the bottle scavenger with wanker hair on a tricycle. I told my dogs it was more his alley than ours, but they barked anyhow. It’s a day to rescue hydrangeas and all other dying things I tell no one in particular. 

Last night, is saw a pair of antique stone lions on Kijiji. I thought of buying them, but without Bob Pedlar’s house they don’t mean as much to me.

Shitty teeth, shitty teeth, shitty teeth.  

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She still has my favorite dress, but that’s ok, because I have a pill bottle full of jet and a string of jade kept in a drawer for later. 

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The goose shit looks like Tootsie Rolls. I count them as the ‘what if I text this’ and ‘does he mean’ and ‘he is a dirty, dirty, asshat’ pelt me in the picnic grass.

I am too diurnal for all of this. Six am, lately. And while I would argue that it is still a mysterious time, it is not full of death threats and snooping and tears.  It is not full of 36 hour bus rides from Detroit and desperate oatmeal in Flatbush. 

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It doesn’t matter if I answer, I am just a stuffed doll you carry around anyhow. 

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The jet and the tootsie roll turds and the times you ask a differently angled question about the one sentence text he sent you from Brooklyn. 

A ticker tape of counting. A rusty long dash in the river.

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This river comes to the surface, when prodded. It ventures out when called upon, forking the tongue. Otherwise it just rests along personal codes like a nesting bird.  It waits for the perfect moment to resurrect. It bites like a swan bites. Like a rabbit dies. It becomes a mite pattern in the fur.

I am the proud owner of one dying hydrangea.

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