The Devil’s Grandmother
The devil hates dried peas in Japan.
In New Brunswick with a select company
comes out upon the draw
to dance a hornpipe.
Builder of bridges and beyond
man’s strength the moulder
of mountains and valleys.
In Yorkshire he waits
and waits behind the looking
glass, fades in after the fool
conjurer has walked thrice
around the room at midnight. Complete
he wasn’t a kid you could summon
from the back porch at dusk. He wasn’t
a kid you could curfew. Can you imagine
raising that thing? His nagyi
the Magyars say is aged
seven hundred and seventy-seven.
She didn’t ask for this.
We don’t always ask for it.
It’s not that she didn’t like
children, but there were better distractions,
frolics with soldiers
in the fleecy wheat. Did the best
she could; don’t come home unless
you’re bleeding or hungry. We are all left
to our own devices. The boy grew,
his beard came in and now
she recognized him. Called him
by his name but suddenly
every myth and mishap was her fault—
broken tractors, the nail
in the boot. The devil’s grandmother
tried to be gracious, inquired
after some souls. She can’t even remember
having been alive this long, the years
a string of peaches, plentiful