“I Saw the Devil with His Needlework” Exclusive from Tin House


Until the end of March, the Believer and its favorite cousin, the lovely and talented Tin House mag, are offering up a joint promotion where you can get a year-long subscription to both magazines for just $65. (The promotion ends this week. Subscribe today! Here!).

To celebrate, we’re running “I Saw the Devil with His Needlework,” a poem by Bianca Stone, which can also be found in Stone’s new collection, Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, which is available through Tin House Books.We hope you’ll enjoy the piece, and consider subscribing to two great magazines that look nice on the shelf right next to each other.

I Saw the Devil with His Needlework

 The air was like a bullet made out of silk

 I saw him at the curb

 on old upholstery

 saw him with his counted-thread-point

 and tent-stitch, bent over an embroidery hoop

 the trees lifted their drunk limbs and leaves

 while the evening

 looked through a succession of windows

 into other people’s rooms

 the evening was a powerful gun

 the evening had an Uzi

 broad evening

 in a neighborhood full of translucent teens

 sucking on one another’s backpacks

 filling up the trains with their heat

 their intelligence pouring out into the street, sobbing—

 I saw the devil with his sewing threads

 making something special for me

 and it wasn’t thunder

 it was perfect clouds

 I saw the devil with his stitching techniques

 textiles and shadow

 saw his hands that never stopped

 the clean amp of his forehead

 tight intervals of flowers in his teeth

 bright as an earing in the drain

 and I made a force field with the wilderness in my face

 and a fortune-teller’s neon sign

 that glowed a painted light onto the street

 and I said his name

 and his crimes

 three times against a curse

 and found a coin on the ground and read the tiny date

 and blessed a bag of weed

 and a wild bore

 I left my bones and my scars

 and went out

 like a poltergeist

 totally empty

Heavily influenced by a family of writers and artists, including the late poet Ruth Stone, Bianca Stone began writing poems at a very early age. She collaborated with the poet and essayist Anne Carson on Antigonick, published by New Directions in 2012. She lives in New York City.

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