Come Play with Us • Lindsey Frances Pellino

janus and his double faces:

god of portals, custodial passage—

where there is a mirror there is a ghost,

guarding, keeping, mirage

mopping up glacial drip of blood

on a cloth fiber mop.


janus and his double faces

was our father.


he poured bourbon into polished glasses.

we like to pretend our faces shone in the light

and it took the might of a hundred bricks

not to smash them on the bar and in the face and face

of our new host.


we watched him spiral down staircases

drag his knuckles on the carpet till they sparked

stuck his fingers in a typewriter and prayed

for it to bruise his intentions.


he must have been a good man,


or maybe he was forever this caretaker

this boatman, this janitor.

but our mother loved something,

married someone,

doused in lace and holy sacraments,

got pregnant by some entity

and we

crawled out.


janus and his double faces,

no wonder there were two of us.

we would cower in the pantry

brush each other’s hair with our fingers

until we could breath again.


his cabin fever rose,

the ice wouldn’t melt.

we would peel back the wallpaper

and find floods of ink

listing every sin and madness

rushing from around corners

like the flooded nile.


and when we died,

how the blade thudded

like he swung it

through air,

slow gurgle of oxygen and

we glued to the wounds.


we only wanted to go home,

somewhere warm and glowing like a city,

not this labyrinth of ice.

we just wanted to play

with a little brother,

riding our bikes outside,

at dawn, no stars, just us

on pavement.

on pavement.

on pavement.


by Lindsey Frances Pellino, from Hysterical Sisters