The skull atop my bookshelf is the devil.

Light bringer, I mouth. Morning star. I got down on loose knees, my saintless heart,
felt the uproot of holiness begetting the sin. Tree trunks, the apple. Look at

his hands,

(how he gave me one whole second of stillness—
the mockery of his prayer, of craving,

of mine.)

Your favorite sinner
on the roofs; he is stealing your pots of flowers—the dandelions you grew,
the poppies on the soil

that buried all your follies.

You die in fields. You die body-shaped like a cross
in your own hands, by your own hands.

There is
salvation in malaise, salvation in the sin, (and so he is a gun
and the comfort of having a gun.

His breath the gunpowder.

Warm. Oh, god.)

Two things: His open palms.
His blood.

One thing he'll never tell you is that he still has his wings. Inside your head
you replace them with reptilian tails—his nimbus the horns, and his home

the forest fire.

Ember, ember. Openness is a frankness. Admission isn't a flaw. Learn this. Learn him. You see him
when you twist your way out of your nightmares, your head to the left facing north,
the ceiling un-lights

and you think he wants your soul—the sin-bodied, sin-thought'd,
sin-breath'd

you.

But that is not how it goes. He doesn't take you where you don't want to go.

He is your cabdriver.
He is your second presence.

Give the money, sleep the distance. What the impalpable can't touch
is his radius. You go to lengths to skip the shadows like a small child afraid of the dark, said
'I am not that small child anymore. Not anymore,'

and you lie with

your arms in, your arms out.

(You'll never get to know the name of that ghost that stole your limbs
left you sleepless

and caught your throat midway.)

The devil
when he prays to god, god does not hear him the same way he does not hear you
the same way your mother watches television with her eyes on the screen
the same way the static lights stick to her pores and skin
the same way you die unheard
unafraid

unsaid

like your passing in the fields, your third blink
after death.