Personal Satan


I can believe in a personal satan

When I see my words jetting forth
As scalding steam,
To sear and scorch another.

No more proof is needed
Than the rush of violence boiling up
Behind the eyes,
Behind the smiles that cut both ways.

Yes, there is a personal satan for each one of us.

How else to explain the halting speech of gratitude,
The lame stumblings of thank-you’s and please?
The blind, the deaf, the weirdly twisted conversations
In elegant side-rooms and vestibules?

We have our satans, our adversaries, the ones
Who throw down the bolas of our making
Around the ankles of our friends, our lovers, our children.
Even our blessed enemies.

We scrape for words of repentance,
Humility, simple wonder. There is dryness here.

Yet, words of scorn flow with vigor, with bounty,
With health brimming,

Wave to wave,
From our personal Satan.

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