Making A Deal With The Devil One Morning

at the diner (restaurant not diner no)
Morning walked in beside
his dog (on silver lead)
dropping a book by TS Eliot
on the tables Neil had just wiped down.

it was myself and Alan walking over saying

"the dog has to go"

Morning whispered to us "the deal has been made, then?"

and to fill the space over repulsion and acceptance I

"the dog has to go"

when the said Thing whined a
bruised yawp of sound, settling in a
ring of itself on the floors. there were
seven layers in the dining room and
depending on our predisposition we sat the customers accordingly.

Alan and I behind
the counter as if he were holding us up
(what money was there to steal?)

Neil left the office hair pressed
back and detailed to the gentle
curve of his skull he washed his hands.
caught a look at himself in the paper towel
dispenser. wished
he were at home to take a tranquilizer
or some-thing of that sort.

Morning told Neil "I have come to collect"

when Neil sneering the soap scenting his smooth hands hissed

"no deal has been made as of yet"

then Morning laughed loud enough and steel fell upon the tiled floor as if it had been paid for and we had not Alan motioned me

"go out and take care of the customers" I reiterated that as well it was my profession

I walked out
and returned to Morning's
book of Eliot or some
poem by Yeats left on his
work of the Second Coming Morning
would forbid that. yes. Yes!

the verity that Alan and Neil and I and the others had formed into a protectorate of money and food was that we
were all lost
and lambs bleating
by the ending of
sunset the restaurant was a bit of that
deal I heard

the sharpness of Morning's voice and looked over towards
the dog, sighing it was a Mastiff heavy collared and
of drooping jowl an Assyrian hound
really dog of war. it seemed about
as likely to die there and I whispered (in

order not to disturb Neil and Morning and Alan)

"you would be better for it believe me"

the dog sighed
once more

then Morning (followed by Neil and Alan, looking
sheepish-lamb-) came to me as it was I alone
waiting and with his smile of perfection
or blonde hair flowing (he looked Nordic
the first time we beheld him) he asked

"and you, child, how have you been broken? Your words yes, but
besides that you have entered this deal as well"

I could only see clocks and
translated Russian or German soldiers waiting
out the winter as what had led
to myself and any other self that I might
as well become over the course of my employment
flashed over the stars at evening and Morning's special
star then I asked him in a faint voice about the War and he
cursed the Seraphim that had flocked against him, Neil and
Alan shooting me daggers for imprudence that really
was not. He asked about my contusions once more

and all that I could formulate became "I had one to many run ins with


laughed and said

"so be it"

he walked out with the dog and Neil and Alan passed a look over my head all I could wonder was which integral way the two of them came about, fountains in Silesia for
Neil of course and Alan was an illness in Chicago but that was quite enough and there was one part of an emptiness abounding which Morning's deal became known to me and grabbing me
roughly Neil whispered

"I'm sorry lamb, this isn't your fault"

ah but it was

I had shouldered the volume
of Eliot against my breast pocket feeling a bit
uncomfortable in myself wondering
when or how Morning 'would' that was the
curse-of-it, violins playing from Neil's office something
somber: a fugue of Bach's perhaps and Alan was
taking his pulse
with a wet rag

that night I left about eight o'clock and dreamt of wind
lashed moors without the scent of heather that was the soap
on Neil's hands

the next dawn, Morning came
again to collect with the same old mastiff, Assyrian I
knew from temple reliefs and shaded walls of royal blue
the sadness: Neil and Alan pushing me the heather
and flowers on Neil's hands stabbing my face
like quantum theories or rocks thrown at Patmos beside John
seeing Heaven

and the restaurant exploded like fireworks like opening tiger lilies like all the noise of war and gunshot and golden chariots flickering the Assyrian's descending the hills of Babylon or where
ever they
came of

I wept as
I walked home having
my immortal divinity my
promise of paradise intact, but Alan and Neil
in Purgatory for my own
broken eyes. World. The

fire trucks came, found me on the side of
the curb, face hot from passing cars

"what happened?"

"they beat the Devil"


"those he loved best"

"what do you mean?"

"myself. myself. the Assyrians have come at last!" and the dog ran by, a book in its drooping mouth