John Yohe


Lufkin Texas
three weeks of humid hell
fighting wildfires in jungle woods
she was a server at a restaurant in town
tall and skinny
dressed in black
with pig tails
though older
and being from out of town can give me courage
I said I liked her hair
and she liked mine and before I asked
wrote her number on the bill
the next night picking me up
in a long black lace dress
hiding nothing
taking me to her apartment
with pictures of demons on her wall
drawn by a boy on death row in Florida
who sent her dirty letters
her bed with black satin sheets
books on witchcraft
but she said she wasn’t a witch
that she worshipped Satan
had an altar with candles
when we kissed
I grabbed her throat
and she closed her eyes
said I could do whatever I wanted
which was frightening
she said she was a prostitute
when she was younger
but had been married
(two different husbands)
for twenty years
her current husband paying for the place
she hadn’t let fuck her for eight years
I asked if she let Satan fuck her
and yes
and Satan gives as well as takes
she asked me what I liked
and I confessed to her
the darkest thing I had imagined
and she kissed me
wanting me to say more
six weeks later driving from Phoenix to Chicago
I thought of her
called her late at night
telling her things other women would not like
and she was glad I talked that way
was glad I said she scared me
didn’t mind I didn’t give my number
said to call whenever
asked me if she had a lot of money
if I’d want to live with her
she had a plan she couldn’t tell me about
I told her no
to be careful
and kept calling
once a week
that’s all I would allow myself
until one night her phone was disconnected
last night I saw
her name again in my phonebook and called
it rang this time and rang
and I don’t know what I wanted to say
something dark
and to have her say yes

John Yohe holds a MFA in Poetry Writing from The New School for Social Research, and a MA in The Teaching of Writing from EasternMichigan University. He teaches writing full-time at JacksonCommunity College. His first full-length collection of poetry, What Nothing Reveals, is out now. A complete list of his publications, and poetry, fiction and non-fiction writing samples can be found at his website:

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