By Molly Gutman
When the Devil comes for Christmas he brings
a casserole. He wears an argyle crewneck,
too expensive, pilling, starting to smoke. We stir
chocolate and cayenne in our coffee. We sing carols
from the billows of our lungs, and then, all at once
we stop. How rarely are we in silence.
Quiet like this shocks me, as if I was born
into the world at an altitude and with no warning
dropped down a glacier. We kiss for a little while.
When he flushes his skin scabs over. He crisps under me.
Later we eat the casserole, take care to pick glass
from our teeth. He says he’s had enough of fire, so
we leave the grate unlit. We sit on the rug
and look out the sliding door; the rhombus
of sun pursues our slippered feet. He says
he remembers the first snow, how the noise
made him think he was dying. He pours us
teeming glasses of Babylonian wine. We cup
our hands around the tree lights, watch our palms
illuminate. He calls them tiny worlds, malleable.
We bunch our fingers and those worlds condense;
we separate our hands and they explode.
He assures me creation did not look much different.