In the dark alone with all that blood on one’s hands
and the pricking of conscience like a wild woman’s thumbs,
the night vibrates with feathered vengeance.
There is little more fearsome than the shrunken hag
that shrivels manhood with a cackle and forces him
to eat the dead fruits of his drunken sowings;
conscience is stifled in the black drapes of righteousness,
for man has his reasons that woman cannot know,
being an unfinished creation and lacking reason,
and so in the dark, alone with the tingling of the blows
showered on wife and children, and the thumbs that prick
sharp as owls’ talons, he waits for the shrunken hag.
Hold the light high, for the shadows are full of sins that
shriek like owls with women’s faces. Hold the light, for
night presses hard, and home is full of women with owl faces.