Little refrains.
Tomatoes from Burlington, where the road nudges the escarpment.
The smell of vetiver.



Was the couch plaid? I am just wondering.
When exactly did the jaundice set in?

Balance tiny spoons until they fly like birds.
Sew book backs with pristine white gloves.

Those 446 stitches up your leg were ladders to the sky.

A little white sports car
a shooting gallery.

A tiny thinning ponytail.
A white dog, over pampered.

Glitter post rave
you are too old
held with sweat.

Was the couch plaid? Or what?
I am trying to collect evidence.



The hi-way is crowded.
Most things are thankless.
If there is hope blossoming along the bruises on your skin, show me.
Send me keys.

Melanie Janisse-Barlow is a poet and artist. Her first collection of poetry, Orioles in the Oranges (Guernica, 2009), was listed for the Relit Award, and her essay poems, entitled Detroit, were listed in Best American Essays in 2013. Over the past eight years she has published poems, reviews and essays in a variety of anthologies and journals across Canada and the US. She is close to completing her second poetry manuscript, Thicket. Janisse-Barlow works full time as a painter. Her practice includes The Poets Series ( —a popular portraiture series of contemporary poets. She lives between her home in Windsor, Ontario and her wooden boat Kalinka in Toronto, Ontario. Kalinka is the subject of a new memoir, currently underway.