THE DEVIL'S PARTY

A Journey

Curious, how my cat thinks the soul is a thing. In winter
my breath's albino smoke makes her black head slope
in her square of snapped blinds. Because it's natural
for the soul to be in motion—those blank years outside the flesh—
I open the front door, close it—toss a cotton mouse
filled with catnip halfway up the stairs. After licking the plunger
snowed in bleach, my cat's heart is a hummingbird,
a dustball tossed in gas currents over the heating vent.
Dead swans in the Thames, flu-ridden and bloated
between lilies, float over the radio I switch off, driving
to the all-night vet. Downtown, the Christmas lights snap
on at once. The fat Santa could never be as true as his first
beast, stepping off the slate roof of the bank into darkness,
sure-footed, the bells around the neck about to ring.

 

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Not long after rereading Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," I wrote my poem alluding to his praise of Milton as "a true Poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it." I very much enjoy Blake's perception that poets identify more readily with devils than angels. Perhaps the actions by my narrator and her poisoned cat in "The Devil's Party" are virtuous, as the steadfast Santa's is not, since Blake insists "all Act is Virtue."