Barbara Daniels


The God of Contagion

has arms and an overcoat,
a face of white paper—bakery
bag stitched with red twine.

It holds its hands tight to its sides,
keeps its coat perfectly closed.
I made it from soot and spit

and cardboard. It is the god
of charred skin, paid fool
dancing, laughing, shaking

its cap of bells. Peacocks call—
strangling, derangement. Write
your name. Tear the page.

Write fear and tear it. Under
your bed cold marbles roll.
A dark froth of clouds moves 

toward a gap in deep water.
Waves hurl themselves
toward you, slicking the sand.

Contributor's Note:

Is there a god of contagion? Probably not. Or maybe it’s just a god made from a bakery sack and cardboard. You can exorcise it by writing your name on a piece of paper and then tearing it up. That roaring outside is just the wind.

Author's Bio: 

Barbara Daniels’ book Rose Fever was published by WordTech Press. Talk to the Lioness is forthcoming from Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Daniels’ poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and other journals. She received three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.