3. exorcising demons ~ for Gillian Bennett

the death of a woman I will never know

is ticking inside me      waiting to catch fire

an incendiary device of the historical kind

my mother curled into herself   shadowed

my father dribbling gruel onto his chin


this is my palimpsest   the charcoal bleeding

onto this paper     the way my mother’s past

bled into the air around her   smoke

the way my father’s magic powers unraveled

a tangle of tarnished medals in a drawer


so I call my demons to heel with bravado

spinning before them like a tamer of the wild

although my demons were never so graceful

so beautiful     never so easily subdued

no. my demons wear familiar shapes


my mother curled into herself

my father watching nothing

while I write incantations on water

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