Pink Apocrypha

In the morning
there are a thousand
new editions of the Gospel

of the city
crackling across
the piled-up precincts,

written in the pink letters
of the Michoacan bakeries.
They spell words

that mean: a type of fire
or earth you can buy
for three dollars.

In the farmer’s market
a pink Jesus’s
only job is to watch

over sacks of spice
(one for avarice,
another for ovaries)

and small bottles of holy water,
wands still attached
to blow bubbles.

In the Heights, stitched
together with post oaks
and coin laundries,

rhinestone cowboys take
the crosstown home
from the honky-tonks.

Lights dash
beneath their eyelids,
pink Braille

to read the streets’
run-on sentences.
Their heels tingle

a Morse code
they tapped out
to steel guitars,

the only American instrument
that can speak both
forward and backward.

On vacant store-front windows,
back corners of taco trucks,
kids scrape out dust graffiti,

cursive friezes carved
fingertips deep,
the architecture of erasure

washed out by sundown.
The alphabet of Jericho
is a single,

endless word
broken into pieces, hidden
in the stories that will

be told to explain
why all of this was holy
or will be some day.

Children will be
the first to know
there are ghosts for everything,

millions created every minute.
A quinceanera dress is a pink ghost
that lives on mannequins.

They pray back to teen girls,
We can give you everything,
but it may not be enough.