Baja, Death on Holiday

Dust jugs crack the spine
Of broken boulevard. This hellfire kiln --
It's the trap I've come to tourist.

Souvineers of suffering
Heatedly hawked -- a bracelet
Of failed charms, apocryphal gems

Jangled in a glittery hiss.
Not a slither of passion.
Original sin's too rare to bargain

Away in the blaze they endure.
They string those snakey trinkets
In the cool belly of the Mission,

In coffin-shaped confessionals
Where guilt's traded daily
For a snack of flesh and blood.

I sift through all the mummy dust
Unearthing my salvation -- candy skulls,
Thirteen to the dollar,

Each bleached horror blessed
With a frosty number, a monogram,
A confectionary crucifix.

I rattle a bagful.

On the train home, a dozen left.
The sugary stain of a cross on my lips.

2002 John Goss