Skip to content →

The Saint-Girl's Sweetest Tortures

The saint-girl remains careful not to want, to keep the heat low and drink un-caffeinated tea with her mittens on. Even when the tiny, infesting devils hurtle their pitchforks across her kitchen counter. To peel a peach is a violence she grieves in a small flame of devil-whipped silence. They grieve nothing, especially not acetic middle age or perpetual girlhood or self-imposed naïveté. Without shame they skip, sopping wet and dripping peach, all over the piano keys, spark their nervy little tails in sockets, fornicate in cereal bowls. Adult and handsome devils, ram-faced with pearlescent horns, graze past her mailbox to scratch their thorn-tipped tails along her letters like a match.

A moment of weakness: “Could you please whisper your perversities more quietly?” she rages as they blink her lights and wave glowsticks. Her novel of manners hits the floor. “No more about red lips or cocks. I’m trying to edify my human spirit.” The devils feign timidity and purr apologies around her legs. And now satisfaction is a sulfur in her stomach. She holds herself out to the smallest one, who had been leaking crocodile tears in the tea cup. His suckling stings a little pleasure, but maybe, she thinks, it is not wrong to nurse your demons until you bleed.

The devils were mosquitoes then in her ear – Why can’t you? Why can’t you? To answer is to swallow one by mistake. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Her larynx itches with capitulation. Dimpled devil apples of my eye.

from The End of Pink

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2016
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Kathryn Nuernberger Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.