Emily Janik

Weekend Cucumber Affairs


“I have pores like orange peels,”

“I’m a trypophobic”

I like to crunch the seeds in my apple

With my teeth,


The silicone on my fingertips

Resembles his blood beard

On a clarion Sunday.

That Sunday, unlike all the other

Sundays that habitually ends with flapper girls

Licking your fingers

Like puppies,





There were cucumbers

Carved into hollow canoes of verdant skins

Decaying in window light

On the table that significant afternoon,

When the grandfather clock

Sung its ballad of Vladimir Lenin

Each hour I waited for your arrival

And his body stayed whist in glass


A garden full of plastic knives

In my back

Like a backpack.

I’m a schoolgirl riding a bicycle


Stuck up like a field of ripe tomatoes tied to sticks

To stay,

“Up straight.”

To stay,



My meticulously calculated

Exponential growth chart

Of the woman across the street inching

To her mailbox with a walker.


No correlation.


Butternut toffee dust

In amidships of cucumber canoes

From desolate breakfasts.



Monday mornings,

Twisted door knobs,

Rotten cucumbers,

Smelly garbage bags,

Windows of school girls riding bicycles.

The Stoned Ape

A desolate African savanna

awaits a fiery pulse.


But on all ape tongues speckled

caps dissolve like sugar,



in the sun’s hearty heat.


The apes, now dancing naked,

chant at the crows.


The crows alarmed

at the sight,


Tuck their coal

wings tight


from the threat

of vast abyssal eyes.




the trance and the peril.


The apes,

they gleam,



balance on two.



This, the design of

a treacherous program.


They eat

and sleep with leisurely will.


Obey at each impulse.

discipline, an esoteric figment.


Do they know the 



between want and



To need:

is to drink?


Is to fuck?

Fuck, fuck, fuck!


To want: is to dream?

Is to fuck?


Where the elements exist

As only themselves,


or as symbols of






Such a playful

little deceit.


Existing or not



Fruition of consciousness

takes diligent work and care.


Evolution is pain

Growth is pain.


When capable of conception,



That is

the game.


That is

the program.


When I was young, I watched the clouds change color and reduce to silver mist.

Before they disappeared, the shapes would shift into dancing caricatures and smiles,

wearing my furry brow and parched lips. It was an aurora affair my forbearers have

seen through the decades and I finally witnessed. —Currently, my forever seems

daunting. With each breath I count the seconds of my exhale, multiplying them,

dividing them, then adding them all back together so I can feel once more.

Youngness, infiniteness, love galore. —I find new warts on my fingers each morning.

My achy desires find fruition through my skin. Profound as that colorful sky,

As ordinary as a bed sheet drying on a line.






Emily Janik graduated from Eastern Michigan University in December 2019 with a B.A. in Creative Writing.