The Crossroads

There was a string of kings in Chicago / and I knew a few of them

Illustration by Benoit Tardif

The devil will open his mouth
and invite you in.

Carry a chicken bone, or a lion’s paw.
Prepare a pot of hot soup.

Feed him and you’re off the hook,
but if he’s hungry, things begin

to happen. Be cool. Freeze
your face into a mask.

No matter where you go
there are people of power.

There was a string of kings in Chicago
and I knew a few of them.

There was a group of us
and I wasn’t a part of it.

I left. I met the President
of the Middle of the Road.

He wore a T-shirt advertising
rotten food and lousy coffee.

Then the bird of my mind

The bird of my mind
returned to find

its nest was a mess.
I ingested my ancestors.

144,000 delusional godheads
marched through my radiant inner city.

Now I serve the elders with both hands
and I let the fruit ferment on the branch.

This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue.

Damian Rogers
Damian Rogers is a former poetry editor at The Walrus and the author of the forthcoming memoir An Alphabet for Joanna. This essay is adapted from a speech she gave at The Walrus Talks Living Better last fall in Toronto.