*from One With Willows copyright2019 by Joan Myles*


They used to cluster near the city well

to prey upon wayfarers

too weary to mind their tongues,

their satchels, their children.

They huddled in shadows, among the feet

of pilgrims and saints

to taunt the rabbi’s New Year sermon,

and his students’ rebuttals.

But demons never followed us home like this,

never hid among our winter coats

or under the floorboards,

or even in the attic.

They never climbed up our backs,

or sprinted between our busy steps,

never waited beside the bookshelf

or stood warming their wretched claws at the stove.

Only during these horrid, dark hours

have I heard them hissing

between my gritted teeth,

amid my ragged breath,

felt them clutching at my hair,

untying my shoelaces,

glaring at me from behind your eyes.

The well has run dry

despite the deluge outside.

And without well water,

there are few pilgrims,

fewer saints,

and wisdom’s window

is locked tight against the wind.

3 thoughts on “Demons

  1. Wow, Joan!
    This is so powerful and settled deep in my gut. Thank you for creating a poem that expressed what so many of us are feeling in this surreal time. Blessings to you.

    1. At the time I wrote this piece, I could never have imagined what’s going on currently. Thank you for your comments, and especially for your companionship…surreal is the word I often use as well. Blessings and Love to you, dear Shelly.

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