Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Metropolitan Book of the Dead

by Matthew Ulland

In the heart of Chelsea
stained glass listens,
whispers the syntax
of promise and loss.

++++++++

The body of Angel Melendez
washes ashore while the Hudson
sleeps, folds liquid wings
around the hull of the Staten Island Ferry.

++++++++

If you stare at glass
it turns to water.
If you stare at water
it turns to bleach.

++++++++

The man with one eye
closed, tries to mouth
the words, sounds
like vinyl ripping.

++++++++

My eyelids grow heavy
under defunct subway tokens—
heavy for passage. Neon
shimmers and spreads.

++++++++

Angel Melendez rises toward me—
offers a quilt of pigeon wings
warm as a hit of ecstasy
on the nightclub floor.

He wants to take me there.
Like a brother, he wants to show me.