Pa and the Devil
by Susan E. Wagner
Pa chopped by day, fed the
Bonfires by night, cold creepin’
Round to catch him unaware.
One night a loon cried, and the
Devil full appeared in the fire,
Horned and wicked red.
We youngins hid and no one
Heard nothin’, but we was
Shakin’ as they hand-grabbed.
The Devil left in flame-cover
And Pa stood, silent-straight,
Sippen’ whiskey, tossin’ logs.
Pa watched fire-dance all night
To the beat of sap splodin’ and
Sparks flyin’ — I watched him.
Sun-up came and I eye-rubbed
Saw a dark-gray Ash-Dad who
Stood by the glowin’ embers,
Till the north wind took him down.
© 2021 Susan E. Wagner
Susan Wagner grew up in the Pine Barrens, where nighttime
bonfires and stories of the Jersey Devil were food and sleep. The deep
woods fill her soul and spill over onto paper sometimes.
Find more by Susan E. Wagner in the Author