Mother Leeds fed her devil child
lavender cakes & egg yolks;
she dressed him in goatskins
embroidered with cats & dogs.
The other twelve children
had been hard, but this one
was worse: winged, snaggle-
toothed, hard to grab onto.
Out of the corner of her eye
she would see a white shape
& know that he was smiling
with something warm in his mouth.
She kept the window open for him
even in winter, when the barrens
were mute with snow.
She wrote the future as the sky
told it, & she sold the almanac with all
the names for all the things in the ground.
The likelihood of angels. The probability
of them having claws.
The kind of music she played
needed only her thumb, a blade
of river grass, & her pursed lips.
There is nothing else a devil
baby wants to hear, not even
singing, not even chanting.
What does a mother do to a child
who kills other children?
She wrote the names of spirits down
& did not give the town its bodies back.
When he is hungry
nothing is wasted.
Alyssandra Tobin is a poet and short fiction writer from Boston, Massachusetts. She has been published or has work forthcoming in The Hunger, Atticus Review, Curbside Splendor, The Quarryman, and others, and was awarded the Douglas A. Pinta Award in 2015. She recently received her MA in Creative Writing from the University College Cork, in Cork, Ireland.