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Breath & Shadow

Summer 2019 - Vol. 16, Issue 3

"Worldly Possessions"

written by

Alison Gerhard

Life was easier when I was possessed by demons.


There was a morning routine, for one.

First the demons would wake up,

spin my head around a few times

and fling me bodily from the bed.


Then I would wake up, 

and convince the demons 

that a shower was in all of our best interests.

I'd wash my hair while they counted

the spiders circling the drain.


I always had excuses when I was late to work.

"Sorry," I'd say, "I started foaming at the mouth on the highway,

screaming in a language no human ears were meant to hear."

They'd all laugh.

"Man, Mondays."


And when I had to turn away lovers

at the door, it was simple.

"At night my skin turns to coal and ash.

I gauge the pillows with my horns. I tear the sheets

with cloven hooves.

It's not you.

It's the demons."


Things were so much easier when I was possessed.

Now when I wake up, I just wake up alone.

Alison Gerhard is a writer and researcher at the College of William and Mary, where she is currently pursuing her master's degree in chemistry. Her work has appeared in Wordgathering, Rat's Ass Review, and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit, and is forthcoming in the Noon anthology from Arachne Press.

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