by Jac Jemc
Janice-Katie, Janice-bright, Janice-blossom turned to fruit.
Every day Janice-Katie is cross-pollinated, self-surprised, she stays the same and comes undone.
Janice-Katie, at twilight, can feel herself turn waterless, feel her bones bend into beams of ghost and question, can feel the transformation occur, a little backwards shipwreck.
In the dark of night she is the ruins of ancient artwork. In the morning, she is a mystery, even in full-light. As the afternoon turns to evening though, she can feel herself become the ultimate skeleton fiction.
It’s at twilight that Janice-Katie can feel the buzzing of the day embed itself in her, change her. It’s at twilight when her stamen feels the hunger, and her pistil feels full; the sticky tip of her stigma pulling the full day deep into her. That is when her body begins to make the apple seeds.
Janice-Katie, on the stage, under the gas lamp of faithless vision and the panic of crushed myth. She drums closed arguments with faint questions. She cannot shake it out.
The petals of the blossom fall as she plumps, her skin growing thinner, building layer on layer, until that epithelial first coat has knotted itself into a core at the start of her.
Janice-Katie rising round the neck of the dying spring, shining from within like startled death, her vivid veins rushing like nothing when compared to the famous, clean poetry of the fresh curse of fruit.
At the bottom of her are all the furry parts that made her, the part we try to ignore, to pretend it doesn’t mar the smooth red slick of the separation of inside and out.
Janice-Katie, not the least bit fixed in an immobilized embodiment, all about the strange proportion and the phantom left behind by wet newspaper. Janice-Katie, filled with people weary of the great half dark, in her hands is a cold story.
A little overripe, looked over, winked at and passed on, the chiaroscuro of Janice-Katie jumps with centipedes. She can only feel love like a loose shadow.
‘When I’ve rotted,’ Janice-Katie tells herself, ‘when I’m past possibility, I plan on asking what all of this is about. I’ll do it, in the service of shrill facts and likely twins. I’ll give credence to the sunless ideas, beautifully explained under the weight of many men and women. I’ll win my case with that old repellant weapon: betrayal.”
Janice-Katie, like church or scorpions, bent and strange, cut with a little bit of snake oil. Janice-Katie says, “It’ll all be over in the end.”
Even a roof is under something. Even the coldest day has a cooler shadow, grateful and long. Even the deepest hole can be dug deeper.
In her bed, in the pitch black, Janice-Katie can hear everything, as the memory of her is thrown away just as it is called into being.
In the dark of the night Janice-Katie’s face becomes the moon becomes a chemical fire becomes a belly of dead moisture becomes herself and her.
Which is true? Janice-Katie could flower and bear fruit at once, could watch herself without touching a mirror, could read her story without laying eyes on the page