Satanic Relics

by William Doreski


An appendix to my Field Guide

to Evil offers instructions

for devising Satanic relics.


The bones of an infant’s arm

upholstered with dried seaweed

and boxed in carefully carpentered


hickory or ash, for instance.

One is not encouraged to murder

a child but find one killed by bombing


or other act of war, then purchase

the sad little corpse from parents

whose grief seems authentic but


subject to the flux of currency.

Another example needs stones

washed down the River Jordan


all the way to the Dead Sea. Fill

a skull with these stones so tightly

it doesn’t rattle; seal the eyes


and neck-hole; cement the jaw shut;

then gild the assemblage and pose it

on your mantle where dinner guests


will find it charming. Still another

requires the ashes of a blood

relative dead of natural causes.


Mix the ashes with clay and throw

a pot on a hand-cranked wheel;

glaze and bake; use the pot to store


pebbles from Mecca, Medina,

Nazareth and Jerusalem.

Of course such relics can’t function


in our nuclear world; but I hope

that hearing about them relieves you

of otherwise obtuse gloom.