What the Cartographers Didn’t Know

The creek we claimed we owned.
The path through the trees between
church and home. The shortcut in the
woods where we found a bridge
without name or keeper. How
one summer day, it vanished. The peaks
and valleys of the snow drifting with
wind and warmth. Even we never
knew their names. The lake at the end
of the sidewalk. The river carrying its
current in the street. The trail down
the little cliff, against the Great Lake,
that led to those old cars, buried and twisted
by earth and sand, abandoned
at the bottom of the bluff. The rope
that led us there and back, passed
between bodies that never met. Those
footpaths beside the railroad tracks,
where we disappeared from one
another, where we learned the hurt
of dirt against our backs. All the
dead ends, on every street we
took. The corners of parking
lots. The gravel roads where we flew.
How my grandmother’s driveway curved

and her house came into view.

Moments I Will Write

I can already see the years
unfurling before me. All those days
ahead of baking bread and
binding breasts. Hours of hands
holding sunlight in their fists,
skin settling under the sky.
I will sit at the kitchen
window and watch the birds come
back to life. Watch them rise
from dirt—talons opening,
feathers fluttering—and lift
themselves from the forest.
There will be a stone
between my lips, smooth like
the beginning of skin. In the morning,
I will wash the night sweats
from my body’s creases, I will
bring myself to a breakfast
of yellow yolks and toast and a mango
found by miracle. At night,
on my walks, cool air
and starlight will fight for a share
of my head. Air will whisper
empty dreams, little deaths.
Light will fall softly onto
my life. But at the end of the road,
a raccoon will win, feasting
on the flesh of a crow whose
resurrection came too late. I will take
what is left of him into my hands
and bring him home. I’ll cry for him
at the kitchen window—a mirror
in the night—and I will wail and thrash my fists
again and again, until dawn rises
at the horizon’s edge. Then I will
set his carcass down—I must follow

with wings too heavy for flight.



Photo by Heino Elnionis.

K Janeschek

K Janeschek is non-binary writer originally from the Midwest. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Swamp, Split Rock Review, Hoxie Gorge Review, and elsewhere, and has won Hopwood Awards in both poetry and nonfiction. They live in Alaska.

Twitter: @KJaneschek