Settling Accounts

I fell in love with a demon with a woodwind name
and the voice of a scratched record
crackling the same joke over and over to the footlights of Moscow,
the streetcar lines and the dizzying lindens
of a city made of myths and ink.
Writers and witches changed partners beneath the full moon,
but I chased a trickster in a loud check jacket
and a string of show-biz promises,
trying to glimpse through his cracked lens
the world where no language needed interpreting but lies.
No one burned the book I never wrote him
or asked me to fly from the Sparrow Hills,
riding beside a black cat who pays his fare.
Nightly I sit up with the other mad poets,
going to the devil in my own unhurried way.

Sonya Taaffe’s short stories and poems have appeared in such venues as Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, Here, We Cross: A Collection of Queer and Genderfluid Poetry from Stone Telling, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, Last Drink Bird Head, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. Her work can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books) and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press). She is currently on the editorial staff of Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object.