When her eyes went hard
she became all ear. The fingers
in her lap delicate as those small bones
that catch sound. Everything whispered to her--
the thorny roses at the window glass, the knotty stairs
settling beneath the evening air,
the sparrow rustle in the chimney flue.
At dusk she called us to the Bible,
its pages so thin we could see each story's end.
She loved when the devil showed his face,
his voice hissing from the guttered fire,
knuckle rattle like a spoon on a hip-bumped table.
Before she passed, she spoke in tongues,
tried to hold him at bay. Her eyes milky
as a snake about to lose
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