The Devil’s tour of hell did not include   
a factory line where molten lead   
spilled into mouths held wide,

no electric drill spiraling screws
into hands and feet, nor giant pliers   
to lower you into simmering vats.

Instead, a circle of light
opened on your stuffed armchair,
whose chintz orchids did not boil and change,

and the Devil adjusted   
your new spiked antennae
almost delicately, with claws curled

and lacquered black, before he spread   
his leather wings to leap   
into the acid-green sky.

So your head became a tv hull,
a gargoyle mirror. Your doppelganger   
sloppy at the mouth

and swollen at the joints   
enacted your days in sinuous   
slow motion, your lines delivered

with a mocking sneer. Sometimes   
the frame froze, reversed, began   
again: the red eyes of a friend

you cursed, your girl child cowered   
behind the drapes, parents alive again   
and puzzled by this new form. That’s why

you clawed your way back to this life.

  • Mary Karr, “All This and More” from The Devil's Tour. Copyright © 1993 by Mary Karr. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

  • Source: The Devil's Tour (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1993)

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