Jessica Lee Richardson

Guillotine, 2017

A corded lift and low born stretch for queens brocaded in resplendent swallow is
decaying. Pink hidden skins pucker their squint. The floor flowers, pinched with
knives of velour. The screws designed to bind the softest thing are made of gold.

You are skeletal in your blossoming. In your bundled white wreck you are cities.

Who chose the thread that shines for such a pastel unbecoming? How to tell
unfurl from furl, was it worth? How pale flaps that velvet.

Outside yellow plastic cones designate, designate. Align crosses red with upright
shame, sure, but surround them with thin exacto slivered arteries at least. Let
them dangle, let them see heights once earmarked for a giantess.

We see the worm eyes in their pockets, the clasp of god they think is on their
cheek. The smallest knot ties the whole sky fitted charade to the beam.

Stuck in fetid air, frothing in cloth I statue a salute to the ground. Like so many.

Bent heads pillow forth with their sincerest apology but the petals still deign
to lick a stenciled foot. The one that kicks us all but some harder. Guns were
pointing from every corner but from my position I got to never notice it.

Those hooded monks are not just bowing. They may not even be monks.

The fox snout the cannon presupposes is dreaming of a hole the shape of an egg
yolk. Its shadow on the wall looks like light a lighter shade of blue than a puppet
print on its way from strung and up. Or when violence shakes like a windsock
revealed for the children’s game it is. No mine. Mine.

Have you heard? The tale of the very last artist? It will never exist.

They lie about like slacks hung like the room, vivid rose, and on the brink, the sun
coppered cuts of their eyes coil up and because they cannot trace the outline they
pencil only this: that thousands of fabric flames were once scissored from felt just
to frame the wonder of falling.

Art Hat

I was fourth and wove for years as fate
the prize returned myself. I spent days
learning (the tango), playing a soft farmer.
I saw half-formed time an absence. Yes,
I knew blisters. Young feet. The ground.
But what? I would ask family, and then
what? New shoes? I spent years
a name. We described. Finally I traveled
riddled roads the average color of navy.
Live and learn. Trust me soon. Dusty
I stuffed the goods we charge. One Saturday,
possessed by brunch, a slew of makers
like madmen knuckled and spread. We
ended up a fact I wasn’t at all certain
rejoined the community. Our arrival
a sketch of a cardboard box. We were
ready to ramp up the air. The quest widened
the terms. We’ve found because we have.

Here’s a story: the dirtiest puzzle made them
wonder whether cleansers were kind. The fat
of a cow softened their collars. Not only that,
parables open doors. A key forges an era
such as the most refreshing soft drink,
a concrete survey unknown to students.
One dollar bill and two letters studded with
rainfall gave a third group a dollar less.
The story matters. This lesson was a product.
I noticed red interns came alive watching
the ticketing and I was embarrassed.
Did the magic do the math? I crisscrossed
the relationship feet first. Taxi cab riders
happened to film a commercial. The consumer
is also a means of making you more attractive.
Here are some tips: there’s a new vodka. Talk
up favorite places, ski lifts, trade shows. Run wild.
Try to scrub clean your presence.

Jessica Lee Richardson’s first book, It Had Been Planned and There Were Guides, won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Prize and was longlisted for a PEN/Robert W. Bingham award in 2016. Some of this work responds to the artist Liz Miller’s installation “Requisite Beguilement.” More of her stories and poems can be found at
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.

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