You’re never sure about the satin
pink camisole. Nor the party to which you’d
wear it. Nor the telepathy
of pets: knowing when you leave
the house they don’t approve.
Nor possession by demons
even though it’s all over
Discovery while you’re getting ready—
the Texan priest in Mexico
calling out evil spirits from innocent
little muchachas, the occult investigator
in New England who finds herself battered
on the bedroom floor, possessed by a goat.
If a demon is anything at all,
it’s a thing
that haunts the duodenum. Fear of talking
on the phone: demon. Desire
to drown in a clear pool: demon.
Love can be a demon, too. Look—
I won’t always be here.
I won’t want my boots muddied ad infinitum.
A woman sits in an office, equally
kelly green and bird’s egg blue,
like a triumphantly solved equation.
She wears the boots I was talking about.
If she were a speckled sparrow
I would talk about her in terms of bird fleas.
But no, she is the exoskeleton,
the experience outside, the opposite
of possession. A man tells her:
It’s your personal demons you need
to worry about, not those religious ones.
By now, you’re sure she is me.
And the office is my brain
telling me not to go to the party.
And the office is a voice speaking
inside me about all the things left
to do, the never ending possibilities
of overcoming. And the office is the room
in which all of this fluctuates, peddles itself
into infinity. Like a symbol.
Like the thing itself, except not quite.
Author Discusses Poems