The Devil’s Grandmother

by gm

Katia Grubisic


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

darkness. Well-travelled,
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
as blackberries.