Convent

3 convent illo

Chloe N. Clark

Convent

After the devil came,
dripping into rooms like rain
through sagging ceilings
and after we spread out his skin,

rubbed it raw with salt,
just like Mother taught us,

we found we could not sleep
alone. Every sound the sound
of his feet tapping against the floor

oh how hooves tap
tap      tap

The walls would not protect
us, we thought they were too
thin—maybe we must sleep
with knives curled in the innocence

of our hands, Mother always
said our skin was soft, smooth,
best for turning pages, smoothing
fabrics. What can our hands

do to keep us safe? We sleep
in one room, lights kept burning,
waiting for dawn. The devil

keeps telling us to stop
fighting. The devil keeps
telling us please stop.

We sometimes wake at night,
pray with hands clasped,
but sometimes the silver

of crosses burns into our skin.

_______________

Chloe N. Clark’s work appears in Apex, Bombay Gin, Booth, Supernatural Tales, and previous issues of Abyss & Apex. She can be followed @PintsNCupcakes

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