The 2River View 18.4 (Summer 2014)

Sally Van Doren

High Priestess

Shuffle the deck and watch
The cards fall from the tower
Into a hostile auditorium
Filled with truth vandals.
Don’t leap after them.
Clutch your stodgy
Lie receptacles as you
Traverse the littered
Maze and pluck each
Card out of the mouth
Of its perpetrator.
Congratulate yourself
For hatching a plan that
Circumvents your own pain.
Then, start to slobber
As your endorphins
Die down and the bile
Froths up over the seat
Cushions in the amphitheater.
Your face wet. Your pants
Wet. Nobody there to dry you.


The devil trains mother
To train her troubled son
To use a semiautomatic rifle
And he shoots her first
In the face before he opens
Fire on the elementary school.
(Father and brother spared,
Having long since fled the dirtied
Nest.) In his memoirs, the devil cites
As one of his greatest achievements
The introduction of war weapons
As recreational toys in broken
Suburban households.  That,
And the deprivation of the
Rights of a six-year-old
To advance to the second grade.

Sally Van Doren is the author of Possessive (LSU Press 2012) and Sex at Noon Taxes, (LSU Press 2008), which received the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets.  She lives in St. Louis and New York City.

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