A devil came to me Saturday,
laughing and calling himself Charlie,
shaking the rain out of his hair.

I felt my hindsight slip
as I followed him out to his bike,
as I left my roommates watching TV.

He looked up at the sun reappearing,
and denied being a devil.
I asked him how he knew.

Because if I were, he said,
the tango would be playing
and the subtitles would be in French.

We decided to walk the short block
to the Cathedral, and on the way
I offered to be an angel of mercy for him.

He scoffed, I felt like a child.
I asked, “You were the one with me when
I ran up to the Piggly Wiggly’s
for cigarettes, weren’t you?

He smiled, coy as a Von Trap family child
and suddenly, I knew him like the back of my hand.
For instance, and I can’t explain it, but
I knew he opens letters hours,
days after getting them.

He turns up the radio when AC/DC comes on.
He chews ice.
He chases squirrels in the park.

Being with him was like
getting drunk by osmosis and saying “fuck”
with a Christian in the room.

I constantly wanted to ask him about
Michelangelo and David, God
and Adam. These things
a demon would know.

We made it to the church,
we saddled up to the big red doors.
Charlie showed me the rings in his palm,
he asked me if I remember my vows.


AMBER SHOCKLEY was a finalist for the 2012 Edwin Markham Prize from Reed Magazine and has a publication forthcoming in Gargoyle Magazine. She is a student in the low-residency MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte where she is currently working to complete her thesis under the guidance of Alan Michael Parker. She expects to graduate in May of 2013. Meanwhile, she works as a waitress at a steakhouse and performs burlesque and writes a blog on waitressing, strip tease and what it’s like to be a lesbian living in North Carolina.

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