Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview
back JORDAN DURHAM Suggests Visiting the Ultraviolet Apocalypse

We visited the monastery on a Wednesday. Bad luck. The J-room [deathbed of Jesus] is only open on Saturdays and Sundays.
—visitor, July 18, 2004

The room is so dark that it takes several minutes to get your Apocalypse eyes, but it’s worth it.
— Field Review

As if we don’t already glow sufficiently
beneath our own doomed star, I drive and squint to see
Indiana’s mighty rapture. Grotto of all-age
sinners brought here to luminesce their skin

beneath these crosses. One on top of the next. Like the light
of colors, radiating, circling the floor underground
at the bar years ago named 10Below, a name
I never knew meant the cold wished for

steaming into a December night—upper bar door damp
and streaked, then frozen—or the illusion of floors
under the city’s nightlife (one could dance inside it
so easily night after night as though a second sweat-soaked skin). If you let me,

above, I’ll add my X to this shrine (these visitors’ eyes
reflect to indicate death). Cross of love. There’s one way out, then nothing
but sun. Birds and trees I will not see (possibly they tell me)
to my next day. Pure Omega. The world’s aflame

outside with signs leading travelers astray: Release your mysteries,
your griefs upon these walls. If I could, I’d live among these relics, survive this
last hope for sight: pilgrim searching each corner
in barefoot pride. Find a God unmade of stone,

my mother’s fifteen-years-lost ring, any virgin to unmake
those years ago. These catastrophes: a cavern’s (but really built
three stories above) neon grace exposing a body’s
most pained curves—a fun house–mirrored room

never set to let you end. Lose time. Lose the keys to home.
Every mistaken penny for a dime. Holy water dipped
by mortal hands. Twelve hundred candles burn.
This is the end. Mary discos her stone straight

to my soul. Our Lady of Backlight to
This Life.  

return to top