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Granville, a Poem by David Pring-Mill

Photo by Jon Tyson

Premature ghosts slowly drift

through urine-stained Granville Street, sleeping

in doorways, curled around dreams

that have no shape anymore, since cold

has seeped too deep into their bones.

They find a different kind of solace

in the sharp kiss of a needle,

one that promises heaven

but leaves an aftertaste of hell,

with no passion left in limbs

that dance now to synthetic heartbeats.

Meth, opioids, other street drugs claim

a spot on the pavement, offering

communion with the concrete, the dark

like a stern overlord,

sending spirits further down

its hopeless abyss.

Until dawn reveals

its own soft blade, peeling open dawn,

inviting one youth to a final audience

as his breath falters, a wisp ascending.

With his flea-ridden dog and blanket

sewn by a concerned grandmother,

his spirit unthreads –

unfurls from the spool of his flesh.

The divine emerges, appearing as

a churning, ancestral storm

there is no protection against.

We are all the temporary, contained breath

of its raging beautiful wind.

The youth, astonished,

finds himself, his worth,

at the threshold of forever,

and there, in this liminal space,

the street a distant memory, his bare soul

is released into the arms of the unknowable,

a wanderer stepping off the map of the world.


David Pring-Mill’s poetry has appeared in Ariel Chart, Poetry Quarterly, Boston Literary Magazine, East Coast Literary Review, FIVE:2:ONE, and many other literary magazines. He has worked extensively as a journalist. You can visit his website at


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