The Poetry Project

Death in Mexico City

Anahit Gulian

It hurts more three months later like a small wound
on the hand that has festered and found its way
closer to the brain.

We ride a yellow boat to the island of the dolls.

In the toy museum I stumble around half-blind and
terrified of breaking the lovingly assembled glass

We find a local children’s channel that broadcasts
its puppets sleeping with their toys every night.

I do not miss any human in particular, only my
small cat and my old self.

Fani and Violeta tell me about chicas fresas,
strawberry girls, who come to party and pay a lot of
money to learn the language and how to get around.

At the very end of the punk flea market I buy a
decayed leather pouch from a man who pulls me to
him by the handshake and squeezes a kiss on my
face. You are whispering in my ear and I don’t
complain. I would never have bought that.

Roger pulls out a photo of his grandfather and says
we look alike.

Me and Sarah buy the same devil mirror so we can
speak to each other without phones in the future.

The castle is on a tall mountain, surrounded by
purple plants. We are so high above water level,
although the city is built on top of a lake.

A village of cats surrounds the downtown art
museum. They dart in and out of the tall grasses,
detesting us.

I write one diary entry. The other nights I drink.

Cars run faster here.

Someone’s friend was hit by a car. The driver went
to jail for a night while the boy lay in the hospital.
In the morning the driver had arranged things with a
cop and was released. He told the mother of the
hospitalized boy: “Your son’s life is worth 30,000
pesos.” That is about $2000.

I find a doll with hair like mine and we pose solemn
for a photo.

The difference between wanting to live and wanting
to die seems to be luxury.

There are many blue houses around Casa Azul.
Frida Kahlo’s house is so popular the other houses
began to imitate its style.

The three of us traveled so far to see Leonora’s
paintings. They glow.

I imagine it over and over in different
configurations. The position of the body. The shade
of its face. The outfit. First it happens one way.
Then the other.

I am followed by your ghost. It laughs at the three
story pizza in Friki Plaza. It orders the tallest
micheladas in every restaurant. It steals my

Sarah is outside of everything. Her yellow hair is a
protection from our pain. She is the only person I
can stand to look at. I want to put everyone I know
inside my rib cage, so that no pieces get lost. We
get drunk and lay on the yellow boat with our faces
pressed fiercely into our sweaters.

There is something content about Roger and
Ximena’s house, Communist walls and ceramic
demons. We lay four in a foldout couch and frighten
each other until we can finally sleep.

Downtown is a large umbrella district. For sun, for

The ghost is still alive. The boy who died is

Sarah stands tall above us. Glowing umbrella,
protective mast while we don’t look at each other.
The water is only an inch below our boots.

A doctor wanders in off the street and turns my
swollen eyelid inside out. “You see?” he asks.

Issue 15