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,
doused in lace and holy sacraments,
got pregnant by some entity
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
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
by Lindsey Frances Pellino, from Hysterical Sisters