Black Panties
Holly Day
  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 ReviewSLAB, and Gargoyle, while her newest nonfiction book, Tattoos FAQ, is coming out from Backbeat Books at the end of 2017.