Hit It

 

You don’t have to believe in the Devil

to end up with him. God’s not so easy.

 

Say God takes the form of an egret.

Say the Devil also takes the form of an egret.

 

Both have a habit

of standing all spooky on the East Texas streets.

 

They wait sober and ghostly

for your car all night.

 

And when you come half-drunk round the bend

God-Egret steps calmly aside.

 

Devil-Egret lets you hit him.

 

Look, if I have a habit of dressing up

it’s because I’m hoping when I do run into the Devil

he might go a little easier on me.

 

Even the Devil must go gentle

around the edges of my blue polka-dot dress.

 

“Men like red,” says my manicurist. It’s true.

Red fingernails still slay them like it’s 1942.

 

“Dear God, my head,” I say. The fumes are bad.

And now she’s gone to work on my feet.

 

Some facts about the Devil:

 

He likes to hide in your glove compartment.

He’s a yellow bug light in your basement.

When you can see your heart beat in your fingertips,

Or your skirt gets too tight in the waist, he’s close.

 

And now a coat of Quik-Dry.

 

Don’t breathe

as you come to the crossroads in the moonlight

and the egret that appears there stays there.

 

What choice do you have. Say the Devil-Egret

is the only egret. Then hit it.

 

Karyna McGlynn is the author of Hothouse (2017) and I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl (2009)—both from Sarabande Books—and several chapbooks. Her poems have recently appeared in the Kenyon ReviewBlack Warrior Review, Ninth Letter, Witness, and elsewhere. McGlynn earned her PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Houston, where she served as managing editor for Gulf Coast. Her honors include the Verlaine Prize, the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, the Hopwood Award, and the Diane Middlebrook Fellowship in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin. She is currently a visiting assistant professor at Oberlin College.