by Brad Holden
After the bombs went off
Satan came to miss us.
Not at first of course,
but as the centuries passed
he grew lonely in the quiet places.
Seasons returned but with no one
to praise them, and the stars
above went unobserved. The devil
slowly tired of his triumph,
and he found himself lingering
among the ruins of a forgotten world.
He haunted what remained
of our museums and libraries,
looking for fragments
in their broken halls.
In a burnt-out city he stumbled
upon a record player in a shop.
After many years got the machine
to work again, and sat late into the evening
listening to Bach. The tears
on his faded cheeks startled him.
It was the beginning of regret.
Brad Holden is a Managing Editor and the Director of Communications for the Marginalia Review of Books. He earned his Ph.D. in English and Renaissance Studies at Yale University, is a graduate of Yale Divinity School, and has received fellowships to study in Israel and Germany. His scholarship and essays have appeared in a number of venues, most recently The Oxford Handbook of Calvin and Calvinism; and his poetry, in a variety of journals. He has taught creative writing at Yale and other universities, and he currently teaches English at a prep school in New Jersey.