jesslyn roebuckJesslyn Roebuck
Originally from the Hudson Valley in New York State, Jesslyn Roebuck has been living in Madison, WI, for the past two years. She served as the founder and editor of the small Madison-based literary magazine, Plankton. Her work has been published in various magazines including Mudfish,, CRATE, The Chronogram, and The White Pelican Review. She holds a B.A. in English and International Affairs from Lafayette College in Easton, PA. She hopes to become involved in the local poetry scene, especially with regards to teaching poetry in the schools.

Grow Up and Blow Away

The pellucid whorl of a toenail
Is a severed relationship.
The fracture of was and is.

To remark of desire is to boil
Red beets until the water bleeds. Lap
Draughts from the trough; a yearn

That leans always asunder.
The heart is the only organ we cannot
Possess. And anyway, sleep comes faster when alone.

How many times the opossum flops over
And counts itself dead is how many beats
I’ve buried in my coal cellar.

The way a dreamer grinds her teeth
Is an indication of how heavy the tide
Surges against the embrace of moon-glow.

We say moon-glow has nothing to do with it.
But if nothing else, has everything to do with it.
Think about the howl of wolf. Loneliness.

The burden of being alone bares its incisors
In direct proportion to how it wears the hunger.
Few describe its bite, yet each of us is a veteran.

At night, the river is a black scar un-sutured,
The shutters with their louvered slats cast a slice
Of moon around my neck.  Not glamour. Asphyxiation.

I beg the crows to cull up some explanation
or squawk about an approximation of closure;

The end of throb.  The strangle, beginning.



Blue Dress Drying

Although it was my blue dress
Hanging from the ceiling fan,
It could have been a skeleton.

But no, I say, it was blue.
Its emptiness
Forced the shudder.

The fabric floated out
Lifting to curtsy
Death. The garment of

But no, it was like three plums glistening.
The water dampened it; that was all,
And so it was drying above the bed.

It was a bluebird’s canopy for
What went naked below.
And yet still something eerie,

In the way the shoulder strap
Hung on; the way a thought
Stands out against a white backdrop.

This is no business of white chickens
Or red wheelbarrows. This is the business
Of sex.  The business of what goes


What sighs again and again.