Across the street from me lives a woman
possessed by Satan. I can tell she is a devil worshipper
by the way she hangs her underwear so prominently on her outdoor clothesline
all those flags of different colors proclaiming her mood of the day.
If the blue or white panties are on the line, I know it’s safe
to go buy groceries. If the underwear on display
is black or red, I know better than to go outside.
I have tried to warn the children who pass by my house
every morning on their way to school
to stay on my side of the street, to keep an eye on the clothesline, the panties,
that the woman possessed by Satan will get them
if they walk too close to her house. They just laugh at me
sometimes cross the street on purpose, just to drive me crazy. I know
they say things about me behind my back, but I cannot just sit back quietly
and let children be seduced by the Devil.
The man who shares this house with me is having an affair
with the woman possessed by Satan. He says there’s nothing
going on between them, but I can tell he’s been perverted
by the unholy way he gropes at me when he climbs into our bed
each night. When he feels like talking, when he’s too tired to fuck, he asks me
if I’ve been out of the house, what I did with my day
and I don’t answer because he knows the semaphore code
of the panties outside, he knows better
than to ask me if I did any yardwork or housework
when there are black panties hanging on the line.
Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her newest nonfiction book, Tattoos FAQ, is coming out from Backbeat Books at the end of 2017.