Green Clapboard House

A Devil in tall black boots brushes past me at the grocery
self check-out. I key the code for apples as he lingers 
in the baking aisle, staring as if he knows I’ve been waiting 
for him all my life.  His ginger goatee curls towards the graveyard  

across the street.  His eyes say, follow me—I’ll take you
into the Pennsylvania woods just beyond the headstones, 
lay you on a pine needle bed, and slit you down the middle
with a ten-inch blade. The long arm of memory reaching

across the Mason-Dixon puts me back in our green 
clapboard house with my stepfather.  A knife.  Bowl of strawberries.  
My mother wipes the oilcloth as if last night a weapon had not 
been drawn.  At the grocery, I grab my brown paper sacks and head 
to the car, looking back over my shoulder.

Jayne Thompson

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