The Devil’s Taken His Dress Off
dressAfter Santiago Caruso

by Amanda Chiado


It’s all in what you worship, the delicate shift in darkness

when you enter a sacred room that is strung up with a body

that indefinitely has its mouth gaping, to let spirits in or out—

to offer a portal for prayers that vibrate within the bones

of the house.  All the disbelievers are braided like history,

trailing away tears in the hurricane.  Without hushing, wear the loveliest

of recollections, the ghosts of animals who breathe necessity,

who whisper their songs like a hot exhalation in the desert dawn.

If you hear water, the devil’s taken his dress off.  If you hear laughter,

you are not close enough.  Something is in danger, and when it is you,

we will send you up on the weight of a flame, repeat tremendous the error

of your being, and then drop you like a meteor, meaningless.  If no one

cares for you, the devil loses interest.  Worship is a wage, a barter.

If you want to be swept up in the crime, wave your barrel

like you’re never going to be seen again—a mother wants to stop

the incidentals, and blood.  My gathered hands are a compass

seeking the light which renders itself in forms of confession.

My knees are pools of weight—towers of exit, chamber, cylinder,

click, release.  We can agree I have been so wrong, kissing the fists

that in the dark were shaped like wings−but light, light is ever king.


Amanda Chiado’s shadow is part soft flamingo and part melting monster.  Her work is forthcoming or appears in Word Riot, Cheap Pop, Cimarron Review, Jersey Devil Press, and many others.  Order her recent chapbook from Dancing Girl Press—Vitiligod:  The Ascension of Michael Jackson.  Visit her at to be further haunted.
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