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To the devil, of thirty years

May 13, 2017

When I was a little thing, you were always in the backyard,

after dark you would chase me up to the house.

In a few years, you found your way inside

to stand by my bed at night, until my sister’s finger-puppets,

her shadow play, translated into dreams.

At age eleven, I turned to my father to ask –

am I the Devil? – by then you were truly

inside. I prayed to God because of you.

For twenty more years I would do things

I hated, because I should, to be good,

because of you.

You pressed the juice from my eyes;

the ones that used to turn men into syrup,

women into comedians.

The years roll by; you are still

hot on my heels and I am so afraid to look behind me,

I have built the muscles of my back to fight you

I am a grown-up now so I play with my own shadows

to throw you off, like my sister did when we were kids.

But someday, I will turn around. Thirty years is

long enough, I think to myself. It’ll be one gutsy half-pirouette,

but I will finally behold you, and your face will be pretty like mine,

with those same eyes

I thought I had lost.



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