Talks with my devils have always taken a non-verbal nature; largely free of analogy, syntax or point. We have coined words with our fingers and conveyed ideas as action rather than drive on the traction of promise. They are straightforward and honest, and though they bring guns to a fist fight, no attempt’s made to shield you from your fate.
“Come and sit,” one says, patting the bus bench seat beside him.
(It strikes me each time how alike we appear. Brothers, the two of them finish each other’s gaze and start the other’s sentences, for I am their audience, and they are unrepentant in selling the scene.) I oblige the younger and take my place between them- and no passerby would see them, for they are by-products of my belief in their presence.
I would scream for help hadn’t I learned that lesson thrice.
“Today is nice,” one brother says.
“It is, isn’t it? Yes,” the younger agrees. “But I wouldn’t NOT bet he doesn’t NOT see…?”
“He wouldn’t NOT, but couldn’t, almost shouldn’t if we got to talking.”
“Most certainly! Although were he so earnest, stopped pretending like he’s not heard us…”
The younger gasps, leaning over me to make sure his brother hangs on his every word.
“Then he wouldn’t NOT want but could want for naught and were the thought so lost he might not want what he previously thought not possible.”
“But wouldn’t he want NOT what his wanton needs have washed of him but what his wandering sense of wonder has NOT walked away from?
“Home is a want for naught when you’re away and escape is everything when you’re home.” He looks at me. “So said our mother.”
“So stay home with her, why don’t you, brother?”
I finally speak.
“Don’t you two have each other to annoy?”
“So says the boy.”
Spoken in unison.
“No,” the older says, “we see each other NOT as toys…”
“But as gifts,” the bolder of them concludes.
“Not as adversaries….”
“Co-operatives. One thrives on the other, like water on air…”
“Like the night to despair.”
“We are respect unto love…”
“Music laid over drums….”
“Like teeth belong to gums…”
“He is my brother….”
“And nothing will ever..”
Now to this point, I had never learned their names. They were almost identical and always dressed the same, but aside from implied success I could never attest to, without the horns I’d have never known them devils.
“We are Anger…”
“…and Empathy,” they said.
“His friends call him Patty.”
“But Mom calls you Annie.”
“Shut your face,” Anger says.
I can see why
“OK, so what am I to you?
And why do
you follow me,
to work and from home, where
ever I travel and why ever
Am I so
interesting or are you just
picking on me?
I don’t want to talk,
I just want to close
my eyes until
the journey is close
follow me where
“You are Sadness, our triplet…”
“The youngest and most simplistic….”
“But a curse.”
“We love you so dearly but…”
“Sometimes, it hurts.”
“Because nothing placates you…”
“And almost everything that might take to you…”
“You are depression…”
“Like a storm caught in stasis…”
“And we’ve tried to tell you, brother….”
“That life is what you make of it.”
“And we have waited and watched…”
“For the bus that pulls ups, stops..”
“Opens its doors…”
“….and I can never get on,” I finish.
Empathy nods, as Anger watches the cars.
“We are ready to get up and get
you are,” my sibling says,
a man after my own heart,
“you have always been this way,
but you can start
You can marry and take a wife, raise children and tell them they’re brighter than any cloudy day you’ve counted on for strength. You can bank the world and keep it, or donate it to the cretins, should you like.
You can reach every height you want,
so let’s just