I spent some time last week thinking about Mary Magdalene as her feast day came and went. It's not the first time. In this post, I come back to these thoughts: "I think of Mary Magdalene and the ways her life was changed by her discipleship. I wonder if she ever missed those demons or if she spent every day in deep awareness of how much worse her life could be and had been. I wonder what happened to her once her brief time with Jesus was over."
I've played with these ideas before. I've written several versions of a poem that imagines the demons of Mary Magdalene. Here's the latest one:
The Fifth Demon
You moderns read about my demon
possession, and you think of The Exorcist:
gravel voices out of the mouths of schoolgirls,
mouths that spew gobs of green goo.
I tell you, it wasn’t like that. Each demon
had a unique personality, a tone
that only I could recognize. In the night,
the hiss of their suggestions soothed
me into sleep. By day, their constant
criticisms and complaints proved motivation.
And then I met Jesus. His voice
filled my head and crowded out the demons.
His stories left me slightly dizzy,
like I had spent weeks sleeping
on a sailing ship and returned to land.
I miss the fifth demon most.
I lost them, and then I lost
him, and now I have only the tomb
of my empty mind.
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