Two poems by Jill Ann Mceldowney


the they used to make cars here, has been stripped & staircased

no one was looking. but there was
a window fan turning in the 313
when he came up to you on the street
asking for nothing, thinking hard at you: leave while you can.

because by graffiti decree there is no god here:
“go home jews.” “catholics this is not your holy land.”
“9/11 was your fault.” & a refrigerator
tipped in a front lawn painted: “try the elevator.”

here because tax breaks.
here because people don’t cost.
here because it is romantic that they keep finding
bodies in the train station even though it is boarded up.

same as the section 8 block cleared gentle:
Ohyou dont live here anymore.

like restaurants & grocery & mattress stores
what is left is a smell, a dollar store on the street corner
where you go after school to be famous.


Day Six

Say this hotel is haunted
that the edges of bedsheets gather
bodies out of pastel dust & what we tried to
forget in the presidential suite—

domestic & metal
blue popsicles, blue bodies cooling to a bruise,
bars of soap & the way they wear.
I am taking your face in my hands
a gypsy glass, bath salt iridescent rings
reading up on what sins look like in the dark.

Stack these bodies into step ladders
so I will think
what wakes in the bathtub
is just the neighbors fighting again
& not the something that is moving beyond
marrow & vision.

Now I ache in the oddest places
my wrists, my jawbone, that memory
of Northville Downs where I bet the horses like
I bet Jesus is always telling girls in bars
the story of His scars.

What I know
is that
these bodies—
they were sleeping.

But they are not sleeping anymore.


Jill Ann Mceldowney is a model & poet who lives and writes in Chicago. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Ghost Town, Foothill, Bloom, Vinyl & other notable publications.