Letter To the Man Possessed by Demons

Night and day among the tombs and in the hills
he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
                                                                 - Mark 5:5
I thought Christ was the spoon
              that hollows the gourd, the fist

pulling out that stringy seed,
              but he only made an opening;

I had to see myself through it.
              You don’t have to tell me how

you went back and buried all
              the drowned swine—I know.

I’m like you: a lover of graves
              and the dirt it takes to fill them.

Don’t be ashamed: if you come here,
              we won’t talk about that

other life. I will prepare a meal;
              you will tell me your new name.

Caleb Nolen grew up in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He completed his MFA at the University of Virginia and has received support from Blue Mountain Center and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, where he was a work-study scholar. His poems have appeared in 32 Poems, FENCE, The Georgia Review, and elsewhere. He lives with his wife in the Shenandoah Valley where he is working on his first book.