Five Poems from The Devil: A Guidebook ||| PANK Magazine

when we first met

the devil dressed himself
in crow’s wings

my love! I am feathers

for the wind to rub


as I opened
my mouth

I became the warm

that unwrapped me






one morning
the devil woke

“come my love! let’s play
a game with your father”

he led me to the kitchen
where my father read the paper

the devil guided his hand
into my fathers back

unlocked his jaw and mouthed

“son, promise me
you will always
tell the truth”

‘oh Dad!
I replied

what a dirty
trick! it is impossible

to always tell the truth!”

the devil smiled
took his hand out

wrapped it around my spine

the voice
once mine

now full of fingers






whenever the devil buys a book

he crosses
the title

and writes
my name

I think I am the only book

anyone should ever write






at recess a large boy
called the devil a fag

when the devil started
to cry
I kissed him

until the boy blossomed
into dust
and blew away

for the devil’s birthday
I murdered the word

from the world






while walking
the devil
a nun
crossed our path

“excuse me
dear sister”
I said
“there is
nothing to fear

he is on a leash”


Raul Alvarez is the author of There Was So Much Beautiful Left (Boost House, 2015). His work has appeared in PANK, Pinwheel, Ghost Proposal, Court Green, Asymmetric Magazine, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from Columbia College Chicago and works for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project in Seattle. You can read more of his work at

Five Poems from The Devil: A Guidebook” by Raul Alvarez originally appeared in PANK, Issue 8.04, on April 2013.