Three Poems by Janelle Rainer

By  | September 11, 2015 | 0 Comments | Filed under: Poetry

Three Poems by Janelle Rainer
He spent the last ten years
in one prison or another,
working out three times a day,
doing 800 burpees
in his cell. I didn’t ask
why he went to prison.
He just said life was more fun
back then. Now, he’s smoking
in the living room, finally
off probation, too high
to go to the gym.
“I can barely fly at this altitude.”
I ask him what that means.
He makes airplane wings
with his arms, says,
“I can’t fly.”
Stars and Planes
You pushed the screen from its frame
and slipped out into the dark
because you feel like you’re always
in the way of something.
You stare at the sky, try to decide
between stars and planes,
then try to decide
if you’re lonely, or just tired.
It’s not the night you imagined
when you put on that blue dress
hours before. But now,
you’re in the yard
with the stars and the planes
and you hear him inside—
you turn to see him at the window
and he’s looking right at you—
but then you remember: at night,
in a lit house, all a window does
is reflect what’s inside.
He can’t see you.
He’s just looking at himself.
The bedroom door is shut,
but everything leaks in
through the vents—
footsteps, voices,
that cloying smoke.
I hear his laugh,
and fall back asleep
knowing he’s safe.
Later, he undresses
outside the door.
He lays down
and turns his back
to me, afraid I’ll smell
the night on his breath—
moonless, blind. Morning
a far off, unpromised thing.



Janelle Rainer is a 25-year-old poet, painter, and community college teacher living in Spokane, Washington. Her recent work has appeared in Harpur Palate, The Louisville Review, Oddball Magazine, Atticus Review, Emerge Literary Journal, HASH the Mag, POPLORISH, and elsewhere. Her paintings can be viewed at She earned an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon.




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