Winter 2013 • Vol. XXXV No. 1 Poetry |

To Survive the Revolution

I, too, love the devil. He comes to my bed all wrath and blessing and wearing my husband's beard, whispers, Tell me who you suspect. He fools me the same way every time but never punishes me the same way twice. I don't remember who I give him, but he says I have the instinct for red. Kiss red. Pleasure red. Red of the ripe guarana, of the jaguar's eyes when it stalks the village at night. Red as the child I birthed who breathed twice and died. The stump of flesh where the head should be, red. Pierced side of Christ, red. A sinner needs her sin, and mine is beloved. Mine returns with skin under his fingernails, an ice cube on his tongue, and covers my face with a hymnal. I never ask for a miracle, only strength enough to bear his weight. Each day, I hang laundry on the line, dodge every shadow. Each night he crawls through the window, I pay with a name.

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Traci Brimhall is the author of Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017), Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Slate, Poetry, The Believer, The New Republic, and Best American Poetry. She’s received fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and the National Endowment for the Arts. She’s an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.

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