I shouldn’t have been surprised that
looking for the devil’s doorbell
wasn’t a one-and-done kinda deal.
Like all adventures, it is an invitation,
a call, and like an open door,
anyone can come on through the other side.
Let it not be said, that the devil does
not have a sense of humor. They
did not knock at my door, but rang,
at the very reasonable hour of 1:30pm,
as if they’d known any earlier would’ve
roused me from my slumber and I would not
have answered; and any later, I would’ve
been gone grocery shopping.
“Hello,” I grunted, as I opened the door.
“Hello,” they said back. “Won’t you invite me in?
For I have traveled so very far to know your face.
I heard you were looking for me; I tasted you
on stale airplane air, I heard you shout down
the unjust patriarchy, I rode on down
the one-oh-one, chased you past burnt-umber hills,
where I could breathe you in, and saw
the imprint of your body against the ground
where you twisted your fingers in the dirt
and licked the finest salt this side of the mississippi,
just like that little unburnt goat.”
I could hear my mother and aunties lamenting,
Ai-yah, this girl! Couldn’t even take someone with her,
and now this strange person follows her home!
“By that logic,” I said to them, “you are not here
to know my face. You are here
to know my touch.”
They smiled, and I let them in.
Let it not be said I am a bad hostess,
I pulled out the leftovers in my fridge,
and said, “I hope you don’t mind that I double-dipped.”
“Is it chocolate?” they asked hopefully.
“Is everything you do on brand?”
“Oh, no, I do like ambrosia,” they smiled.
I offered them water and juice,
no alcohol though, that seemed a bad idea
all around. They looked around my home,
their gaze settling on me and my pajamas,
a lion kigurumi. I set a jar of pomegranate seeds,
freshly shucked last night, and a small dessert spoon
before them. “I’m not Hades,” they said dryly,
but took a bite anyway, their lipgloss not budging at all.
I watched them down all the pips, sipping my morning
gunpowder tea. They ate neatly, crunching through seeds, and licking
any remnants of juice from the spoon. They also did
an impressive trick with their tongue in the jar to lick out every drop.
“May I have seconds?” they asked, holding the empty jar out.
“I’ll make it worth your while,” they added. And I shook my head,
beware devils bearing gifts and all that jazz.
I grabbed another pomegranate and
opened it up. They watched my hands move,
parting gleaming seeds from papery cradles,
like a cat waiting to pounce. But they made good small talk,
had lots of thoughts about Good Omens, and soon enough,
the jar was full once more, and my hands dyed red once more.
“May I see your hands?” they said.
I placed my fingertips upon their palms, and they traced
the red whorls of my fingertips, painted the lines of my palms.
“Is there a tall, dark, handsome stranger in my future?” I joked.
“The future is angels’ domain. We are concerned with the present,
what can be done now, not hereafter.” They lifted my hands,
tips still red, up up up to their mouth,
and I quirked an eyebrow in challenge,
and they leaned on in and took a lick,
then turned that trick with their tongue upon my fingers.
I felt that tremble in my hips, that drumbeat against my ribs.
They murmured, “A taste at last, and it is not enough.”
Of course, I thought, a devil would not want
someone unready or unwilling,
and I was one who had tasted pleasure,
would not say no to pleasure. Would in fact,
say no to shame and guilt, and any other word
meant to corral me, cage me, control me.
I brushed my thumb against their lips,
gloss wet, and despite its glitter, wasn’t gritty at all.
I wanted to ask them what brand it was,
but there is a time for everything, so I leaned in close.
Their lips lifted at one corner, eyes half-mast in delicious anticipation,
and I kissed their chin.
And oh, the gleam in their eye.
I said, “if you wanted a kiss, you’ll have to
I promised myself I would
sink my teeth into pleasure
and not let go. Tell me how long
you want to be held in my grip,
and then, only then, might you get that kiss.”
And oh, the smile they gave,
I wanted to split them open,
the way I had that pomegranate,
and make a mess of our bodies,
and make that mouth part,
so I could listen to each and every sound.
“until next time,” they said.
“thank you for the snack,
and even better dreams.”
they kissed my hand, and then they left.
It’s one thing to catch a devil’s attention
another to let them in, and quite another
to ask them back again. I could hear my
mother and aunties lamenting it all again,
and my favorite aunt’s voice rising
upon the wave saying, well, are they
good-looking, have good credit, and good to you?
They were certainly good looking,
and I didn’t think a devil would have something like
a credit score (maybe a karma score? I’d have to ask)
but this afternoon visit had been good,
left me delighted and looking forward
to what more there could be.
And that was good enough for me.
I added pomegranates to my grocery list,
and beneath it made a note to look up
what went into ambrosia and to
make sure my sex kit was current and restocked.
I did like to be prepared, after all.