Its slate face betrays the mocking acreage
of pink backyards. Colder beasts
sit with apples in lap, legs crossed like ash
piles, while wall tiles alternate aqua, marine:
Ukraine discotheque sunk under Atlantis.

Once a king sat here, spat here.
This is where the moon made the queen
leak rubies. In the window
you’ll see the court’s cobwebs, through these
spot treetops presumed to be party
to god-blooded domination,
if only as halberd handles.

In the mirror you’ll see just past yourself,
etched there, the arc of the princess’s
spin as she readied her baubles
for marvelous balls. Still smell
the damp dogs of the child
prince; they followed him inside
the sauna where he drowned.

The guide says it’s getting late. Too long
you’ve been enjoying your royalty.
Divert her eyes, grab backward from the basket
of studded soaps to live richly,
just one night. The curious tourist
wonders, Is empire a dying style
of life? But you’re dying too,
so what do you care.


AJ Urquidi is an ace poet of Monterey, LA, and NYC. His writing has appeared in various journals, including Faultline, Chiron Review, and DUM DUM Zine. Winner of the Gerald Locklin Prize, AJ is co-founder of online magazine indicia and has led workshops at CSU Long Beach and Beyond Baroque.