View Archives by:


Seven Demons

Jill Alexander Essbaum

The first fell out of my mouth, as if I’d swallowed him poorly.
Some drink of water he was.  My thirst choked over my tongue.
The second roiled out from underneath my skin like sweating.
He had a vengeance and a petty need.  He tasted like salt.
The third called me Wife seven years ago.  I hurried him away
in a red, rented truck, most of what he owned of me strapped to the bed.
The fourth, I delivered like a baby.  I teethed through the cord
at midnight like a gnawing need.  So many were relived he didn’t live.
The fifth had an anger of which I wasn’t quite aware.  I bruised
to love him, my broken heart limping, my own, lame foot in my own, lame chest.
The sixth made kitten noises when I took him in.  Then,
he gave to lapping at the little pink wounds where he scratched his name.
The seventh I yet carry.  He’s small but he is mean.  What shall I do?
He bleats woolen like a sacrifice when I threaten to carve him out.

Jill Alexander Essbaum

Read Bio

Author Discusses Poems