A Pre-Mature Excavation, 1994
Dirt and shovels. No. Bells. Who wants to know?

Dyke, They Called Her, 1995
Pale girl, shoulderbladed angel / angled wrong, hair shorn.

Me?, 2017
They call me Slick. Like the snick of a switchblade.

Choose Your Weapon, 2004
Knife. Or baseball bat.

Slogan: Tattooed, 2001
The tile in the rest stop bathroom. Sharpies and spit.

The Not-Blue of a Hotel Pool, 2003
Midnight. No. Three a.m.

Drink, 1997
A honeyed drop. The rest to spill. On a crack, and break.

The Place Where Everything Is Broken, 2012
The flowers, gone all spindled / to seed.

Her Baptism, 1997
The wild. The river. Buoyed by bodies in denim and

Ash Wednesday, 2004
A Wednesday of cigarettes. Ashes smeared on a pale
forehead. A supplication.

Some Gods Demand Blood, 1997-2017
Chaos, ashes. A drop to drink. Stigmata. Self-sacrifice.
Flesh flayed by nails and knives.

Some Girls Demand, 1994-2017
A punctured heart. All staple-shot and gore.

Her Christening, 1998
Some gods. My real name. Which is matchstick,
arsonist, burnpile. Pyre. Which is ink smear, toner.
Black. And blue.

The Disease, the beginning of time-??
Always wanting something for which she had
no name.

The Poem, 2003
Me, at twenty-one, legs spread / angled wrong. An
uncovered mattress. The bare, swinging lightbulb.

Salad Days, 1997-2008
Cigarette butts. Weeds, all wilted / broken / gone
to seed.

Now, 2017
The lines etched at the corners of your eyes. Not
crow’s feet. Maybe the talons of a dragon, a
griffin. Some mythological beast.

Gods, Now What?, 2017
Who wants to? No.

And, Again, Interred, 2017
A game of call-out-your-dead. Clock chimes and
churchbells a-ring. Foghorn bellow. The clang
clang clang of the railroad crossing. A game of
oh, too late.


Jessie Lynn McMains is the author of the chapbooks 10 Poems By (Hello America) and It’s Like The ‘Watch The Throne’ of Tender Punk Poems (split w/ Misha Bee Speck). Her poetry and prose have recently appeared in the Nasty! anthology (Kingshot Press), Paper & Ink Zine, Shakespeare & Punk, Little River, Chicago Literati, and others. She’s the owner/editor of Bone & Ink Press (boneandinkpress.com), and was the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate of Racine, WI. You can find her website at recklesschants.net.