Jill Mceldowney

Sorrowful Mysteries

                                             Anthony Carbajal

                                             Anthony Carbajal


I never wanted to be an actress.

After you, I became an actress.

Tell me, is it still the Apocalypse if I dream it?

Michigan is begotten from the used up;

outlaws, prostitutes, their circus trick horses—

all their bodies glowed out with neon:


“Don’t let this be another night.”


The tabloids are true— Detroit is a dead museum.

The mausoleum is built into the side of a hill and every hall leads to darkness.

I see little footprints in the dust, somewhat human,

and someone taking photos with one of those throw away Kodaks whispers:


“And Man shall inherit the Earth.”


I never should’ve come here.

I walk the wreckage with more brutality—

through shattered glass from the empty galleries, empty


So you know, I know—

You took a trashcan. You filled it with fire—the going ons of the dead

are wrapped in flame, still falling in love with each other.

This haunted exhibit is our votive. 


Against the violence you make the violence.

I am envious:

the dead are the still dead and you can’t make it better.


I am not the promised land but I want you to love me,

not tonight—

I want you to shake me so hard—

I Want to be Famous for a Disaster


I want a Rolex to count the survivors of this highway accident,

because already they are pulling ghosts from bodies still warm on the ice—

what happened was a semi truck carrying fireworks,

all these mini vans, a Lexus doing 45 in the fast lane,

a trailer full of white racehorses—


I can’t remember you over the screams

of the fireworks,

but I can see you mouthing the words in their

sharp white staccato:


“He has come to judge the living & the dead—“


A guard rail wrapped around an engine,

long streaks of ash across the snow,

hoofprints in the blood,

all four horses—

they are edging the scene

they are calling out into the night,

like someone call someone—


because all the phone lines have been cut.

It is just us kids & we are moving

like one of those silent picture films played backwards.



there will be gentleness at first,

a prayer when your body

blocks the hotel room door.

you have taken the book from the nightstand,

placed it in the hall.

you cross the room to me louder than my skin,


& my skin—

it is three years from now & Oprah is asking me

about semi dating the drug dealer who took me to Bible study.


I am not yours.

you know.

I will pretend I do not want to hurt you.

my soul is wrecked land & hope—

touch my sides. I know

my paleness—

I am afraid to cry in front of you,

but I am more afraid to look like Kim Kardashian.


I am afraid I am going to have act like I enjoy this—


& faking it is hard.

faking it is so hard.


Jill Mceldowney is a MFA candidate at New Mexico State University. She is the author of the chapbook Kisses Over Babylon (dancing girl press 2016). Other work has appeared in Vinyl, Corium, Ghost Town and other notable publications.