Let the demons among them

Madison Zehmer

a deer-hide canvas makes its way
into my memory
and sits there for a while

soaking in the afterburn of headlights like
silent Sirens I mistook for shepherds

I follow spirits instead of turning them into stone

let the demons among them
breathe from my lungs
and detail death on my skin let the just-ghosts

watch if they promise to be
still and soundless

applying anesthesia to intuition began as
apology more habit than diversion now

I’ve undone and redone
my baptism many times never in ocean water

always within reach of
early-morning fog late-fall crisp air

far away from tides and
sand and sea where things are
always beautiful
even when they are grotesque

so I wonder why words of
half-murmured half-skipped rituals

still taste so briny like swallowing salt water
with every movement

of teeth and tongue

all jumbled-up

doxologies and dedications and
commendations and confessions
around in small attic-space above expanses

of shame-tinged adhesion now

when I pray sometimes I forget to

in between Hebrew and hymn

sometimes I just choose not to

Madison Zehmer is a 22-year-old wannabe historian and emerging poet from North Carolina. She has published and forthcoming work in the Santa Ana River Review, Ethel Zine, Drunk Monkeys, and more. Her chapbook, "Unhaunting," will be published by Kelsay Books in 2021.

Issue 16
Back to Issue
Also in this thread
This thread has no other posts