dia de los muertos

by Daniel A. Nicholls

“And that’s it, friends. I’ve done it all, I’ve lived it all. If I had the strength, I’d cry.”
—Roberto Bolaño, 2666

I.

looking back,
the heat death of the universe
could be felt by 1995
when Friends and Jerry Seinfeld
put their legs up on our TV trays
and fell asleep
as one

 

II.

I have been witness
to the moon striking downwards
at the gravestones of children at night

God! that the world does not break apart
but bruises onward
the rod-wielding goddess neither ravenous nor blind

the blue-pale color of the grass at night
below the flash of the sprinklers’
long limbs

we’d been watching Buffy
we thought it’d be a cool place
to wring out what was left of innocence

 

III.

if we wander the mall and wander the mall
if she strings me along what can I do?
like a bouncing balloon tied to the wrist of a toddler
teetering down the hall

when love is long and love is long
and life is short but not short enough
what can we do? but turn the lock on me out of doors
the wind coming up and a long love gone

when I sit by the brook just off a graveyard roped with these newly Northern winds
and count on my fingers more recent loves
as leaves canter and carom downstream and your name bobs up
what can I do? but dash the water with my boots

if we were dead and we were dead
if we were dead and we are dead now

 

IV.

the city’s noise can be worn like ear muffs
we wear them warm
your fingers crawl in with my fingers
in one of our pockets warm
the stars spread tall above us all
the downtown strung in white lights
we giggled at the steam of our breaths
they’d have to bury us side by side

 

V.

picnics on the desert lawn
bright scarves on the grounds of the dead
your great-grandfather and all along
the rows he’d bought for them
set down the blanket, Maria
this is the spot for us
the Irish priest calls it superstition
I call it a banquet of love
set down the blanket, Maria
here’s enough table for us

 

VI.

As of two thousand and ten we used
filmy straws of human flesh to taste test soda.
Pepsi Co said it tasted
purer that way.

About Daniel A. Nicholls

Daniel A. Nicholls can be found declaiming poets and poetry on Twitter (@nomopoetry) and Tumblr (nomopoetry.tumblr.com). He has other poems online at Specter, Commas and Colons, and Halfway Down the Stairs, which ran a piece from the same project "dia de los muertos" comes from.

Daniel A. Nicholls

Daniel A. Nicholls is online at