By Death, She Lives

a monthly feature by

Jenna Vélez


The devil taught me

How to add and subtract

Chanting numbers in my head

While the children of the night

Bleached my skin with their songs

The devil showed me how to spell

While his spawn cut off my braids

Like run-on sentences

The legion laughed and burned

Heaven’s accent off my tongue

I speak in tritones and bad omens

My pen has only known blood

The devil pimped me out

To his greediest angels

Taking turns in the black

Flames of hell’s bile

Fucking my light out

To win is to lose a child of God

And the devil sewed me black robes

With bone needle and goat sinew

When my funeral was a graduation

Honors cords to wrap around my neck

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