Demon Villanelle

Joshua Gage

Demon Villanelle

Some hours I believe that there’s no reason to be scared.
With daylight it appears my torments are no more than dreams
but at night, it seems the demons are already there.

When clouds are dappled by the sun, and birdsong fills the air
perfumed with breezes both restorative and vernal green,
I can convince myself that there’s no reason to be scared.

We gather daily at the altar, light candles and say prayers
to purify our hearts against anything obscene
but at night it seems the demons are already there.

I ignore the claw marks. I ignore the wandering pairs
of cloven hoof prints. I pretend that I don’t see a thing.
I lie to myself that there’s no reason to be scared.

At twilight I surround the house with salt. Then we prepare
a purging incense of sandalwood and sage. Our house is clean,
but at night it seems the demons are already there.

The moonlight slips the curtains. I awake from a nightmare
with choking gasps. I tremble in the darkness. I want to scream.
I tell myself that there’s no reason to be scared,
but it’s far too late. The demons are already there.

______________

Joshua Gage is an ornery curmudgeon from Cleveland. His first full–length collection, breaths, is available from VanZeno Press. Intrinsic Night, a collaborative project he wrote with J. E. Stanley, was published by Sam’s Dot Publishing. Inhuman: Haiku from the Zombie Apocalypse, is available on Poet’s Haven Press. His newest chapbook, Necromancy, is available on Locofo Chaps from Moria Press. He is a graduate of the Low Residency MFA Program in Creative Writing at Naropa University. He has a penchant for Pendleton shirts and any poem strong enough to yank the breath out of his lungs.

Editor’s Notes: Church candles are combined with pumpkin demon from pexel and another demon from pixabay to complement the villanelle.

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