Currently, the majority of my friends are scattered across the country, giving birth to healthy children, furthering their education and careers, or contributing to humanity's greater good. And I? Am sitting at home hypothesizing the circumstances of Satan's death in the mid-twentieth century. And later, I might vacuum the house. But that's about as productive as I get.

Something seems off.


In 1949 the devil appeared in all his glory
with polished horns, scarlet skin, and an arrowhead tail
in the living room of Doris Henningduke.
It was a weepy November afternoon
in Bison, South Dakota, and the snow drifts
surrounding the Henningduke porch
crackled beneath a shell of freezing rain.
Doris sat in front of her busted television
watching the icicles thicken over the front window;
she let her mind grow quiet and the silence swell.
She had no husband to disturb her.
When the devil materialized behind the sofa
clasping his hands over her eyes
Doris wasn’t even aware of her muscles straining
until after she had flipped him head over hooves
onto the cheap coffee table,
where she promptly broke his elbows
and nailed the spike of one of her black pumps
through the center of his forehead.
The devil sputtered a bit, garbled
something about the last mind game
before he lost consciousness and died.
Doris realized the consequences of her actions
and did what any other woman would do,
she hissed a quick prayer of penitence to a God
that was, at that moment, straightening
in His throne, distracted, as if
he’d heard a pair of swallows in the attic.
She dragged the devil out the back door
and, melting a trail of steam across the yard,
propped him up beneath the naked pine
where she began patting snow against his body
until he chilled and the snow stuck to his skin.
If one didn’t look too closely, Doris thought,
he could pass for the snowman of a blind child.
The physical exertion calmed her, so much so
that she was strangely not hungry for supper.
She slumped against what used to be the devil.
The neighborhood didn’t seem to notice.
It was only four o’clock and the sun
hadn’t quite gone down. Only when she could
no longer recall a sunrise did Doris finally weep.



karenh said…
Abby, I like this a lot. However, it seems a little wordy to me. There are many good lines, but they get a bit lost in all the words. It's a good story; worth paring down, I think. Maybe a format with more space would help, and then you could keep all the words.

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