The best way
to get rid of the devil
is to drown him
Harry tells me two nights
before his disappearance.

Midweek church service
carries on as usual
with Brother Wormword
railing against the likes of Harry
and his divination. Amens
and Praise Gods echo
throughout the halls.

At breakfast the next morning
Harry weeps, These eggs,
yellow and runny—over easy!
Eyes of the dead, they are!
Salmon patties! Soft crunchy bones—
teeth from the unborn!

Harry’s gone all day.
I know better than to search for him.
The sky’s dark and rumbles
like the intestinal flu.
Wind gusts top 66 mph.

After Harry doesn’t come home
the next day, the few friends
he has begin to circle the house
spouting mumbo-jumbo,
working their way back
to the lake beyond the fence.

I remain silent,
even when Pastor Wormwood
and Sister Valiant arrive
armed with candles,
all shapes and colors, and fire
by match and by torch.
Let’s have a candlelight service
for Brother Harry!, they shout.
And a prayer vigil!,
the entire neighborhood chimes in.

The murmuring crowd looks like
an army of burning bushes
and hungry fireflies
as they swarm the lake
behind our house.


Cheryl Leverette was born and raised in the south, graduated from the University of Central Arkansas, and now lives in Tennessee near her daughter and grandchildren.

Leave a Reply