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.