© Joanna Parypinski

The procession snakes down the street,
tip-toeing on cloven feet.

Bulbous unblinking eyes track
the lemmings, the hearse. The black

river carves away the shadows. There
used to be darkness in the still gray air,

but now, like an open wound, it has all bled
away. The Devil is dead.

Tearless eyes in pairs stare
as the funeral plods across the square.

They watch the cruel bumper sneer,
the angry headlight-eyes, the austere

shine of the gleaming skin drawn
over metal skeleton. The hearse slouches on.

God didn’t show; he’s probably running late,
stuck in traffic. The world doesn’t wait

for an audience. As the parade snakes away
the people go about their day,

brew a pot of coffee, read the funnies, take
the dog for a walk. And if they shake

their heads and sigh, it’s because He never showed,
and they gaze down the now-empty road

and think, as the sun slides from the east,
of the great indifference of the beast.

Categories: Writing


  1. Interesting. I’m not sure what to take from it. The Devil is dead, but God’s existence has not been verified. My assumption is that the Devil is the “beast” referred to in the last line; so, my read is that the people look back with some sense of perverse fondness on the indifference of the late Devil, perhaps in contrast to the vengeful God. Maybe they’re wondering: “We’ve killed off the Devil, but we still haven’t seen God. What do we do now? How do we make sense of our existence? Who do we paint as the bad guy?”

    My ruminations don’t help you in any way, but, hey–I read your poem and thought about it for a few minutes. So there’s that.

    • I’m always amused when your responses to poetry are “I’m not sure what to take from it” because to me, that seems like a given. Very little poetry is in any way straightforward, so in my opinion, all you can take from it is what you personally get from it, if that makes any sense. And judging by your musings, I’d say you’ve taken from it a great deal of what I purposefully gave to it when I wrote it many years ago. Spot-on, in fact. Thanks for your thoughts!

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