My Favorite Devil

I don't like real evil.

It sends a frost across my bones

And slows my heart to a labored ache.

I run

Like a cat that's been called

I hide

Like Christians' kindness.

But when I was a little girl,

And my mother was making things so clean that they yelped,

I liked to sit at the splintery picnic table

Playing with poisons.

Mama say,

"Did you drink these?"

She shake me good, like a dirty rag rug, beat me like one, too.

"Did you?"

I'm ugly, not stupid.

I know how to keep my soul and bones together,

And that's why I nap in the middle of the wild dog pack

When you come callin' my name

With that sharp look in your eye.

I like devils.

Daddy taught me good English and good eatin'.

He taught me you laugh when you can and leave when you must.

He's wrong, so wrong,

And dead and gone

But I still love him--

The only man I ever will.

Mama came from the country,

But Daddy was the one who loved it.

Like everything else that warmed his blood,

He made me love it, too.

I run through the cornstalks like a haint,

Slip through the morning fog like a river spirit,

And just before you found me,

I was hiding in a silver maple.

When the anvil cloud came,

Its leaves turned over--

And when the pressure dropped,

So did I.

You, my favorite devil, said,

"Who are you, little fireball?'

Ain't nobody.

Never was.

As the funnel came across the farm land behind you,

You told me,

"Let me scoop you up,"

And I became your debris.

You were the first to make me shout out the savior's name,

But from my back,

Not my knees.

You were the first to say,



Beautiful girl,"

And I broke apart in the storm of you, amazed and believing at last,

Crying for joy

In the swirl and devastation we lay in.

Well I don't care.

I knew you were a devil all along.

I am the daughter of two devils, after all,

And I can tell which shade of black is the one I love.

My friends all warned me, "That one is poison.

Did you drink it?

Did you?"

Not just yes, but hell yes,

And now I feel wicked beautiful.

If I have to live with lies, let them be your lies,

All down the rest of my life.



Jinksy said…
Once again you blow my mind better than any dust devil...Your passion rips across the page, scattering words in its wake...
Brian Miller said…
you make me ache shay
Tess Kincaid said…
Powerful. Shay, you write about things I'm still afraid to, at least until some people are dead.

"I run through the cornstalks like a haint" is such a gorgeous line.

I had to read this one through twice, Shay, to savor it properly.
Suz said…
Oh heaven's to betsy
this is so gorgeous
wickly gorgeous
to read...but I'm certain not to have lived
I would love to read a novel written this way..
talent so much talent you have
Unknown said…
damn, Shay

If I have to live with lies, let them be your lies,

All down the rest of my life.

effing hot...

girl, if you ever stop writing I will have to come see about that.

so you best not ever start to stoppin'

Sherry Blue Sky said…
Absolutely inspired and inspiring writing, like nothing else I have ever read . Leaves me stupified and in awe. It is every word glorious but I especially was caught by "slip through the morning fog like a river spirit." The Muse spirit that lives in you is a force to be reckoned with. This is just mind-blowing writing. Whew! Thank you for existing and writing these poems!!!!!!!!!!! and making our lives so much richer.
TALON said…
Just gorgeous, Shay. Left me breathless.
hedgewitch said…
Sightings of the feral girl indeed. Nice marriage of childhood canniness with awakening miasma of adulthood smarts/soul. You do know that if it doesn't kill you, it probably ain't poison, I think, but more like those drugs that take different people different ways--the ones they tell you not to try aren't always as bad as the rep they get...
Lots of great lines...nappin in the wild dog pack, when the pressure dropped, so did I...but my fave is the couplet about the saviour's name. Really nice work, feral one. (Sorry I was watching dumbarse Sunday morning political shows and was tardy to the better program you had on here.)
Lisa Ursu said…
"And that's why I nap in the middle of the wild dog pack"

absolutely marvelous. thank you very much for sharing this.
Jannie Funster said…
The "swirl and devastation" is one of my favorite lines here.

Way cool poem. Waaaay cool.

Dianne said…
Hey Shay,
what a poet you are, I like the head blown off, for me it is my honesty that evades me and does the demolition of my scull cap.

thanks for your writing, keep sharing.
Caty said…
There's too many fantastic lines to choose just one. I think this may be one of my favorites of yours...
Ileana said…
"The daughter of two devils, after all"...good line, Chica! :)
Joanna Jenkins said…
Holy smokes, that was good. I think this might even be my all time favorite poem of yours.
xo jj
Dear Tiger-friend,
I didn't imagine I would be crying( in a good way) at 4:55 in the morning. The line about "I'm ugly not stupid really got to me and then that the character had the experience of being made to feel beautiful, ah redemption and then loss. I am sorry you know such devils. You, my friend, are neither stupid or ugly. You are beautiful and the truth is that you are.
Much love,
Cloudia said…
I aint heard haint before.

your work always surprises and breathes.

I know how to keep my soul and bones together,

"And that's why I nap in the middle of the wild dog pack

When you come callin' my name

With that sharp look in your eye."

Truly love yer stuff

Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral

Daryl said…
As always .. deeply moved
Lynn said…
Wicked beautiful - great words. You have such wonderful imagination, Shay.
Mama Zen said…
Every word of this is beautiful.

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