Just A Trim

It began with the
coiled copper
wrapped around a worn
No.2 pencil.
Her name had been Suzy.
Her father drowned her
on Christmas day
because god told him to.

The second time was
a longer strand of gold,
tucked hastily into his pocket
when his assistant walked in.
Now it’s neatly saved
between two slips of satin.
His name had been Jacob,
and his heart attack
was a relief in the end.

From that point
snips were simple
and without discretion:

a silver swatch from
Mrs. Redding – Dementia.

A tuft of black from
What’s-his-face Smith – drunk driver.

Just three strands of downy brown
from the nameless stillborn
left at the 5th Avenue Fire Station.

After the Honorable Judge Rainer
finally signed the search warrant,
the precinct newbie stumbled upon
seventy-nine samples
lovingly hidden within

the battered pages of
Mortuary Science: A Sourcebook
in the drawer of Dr. Dalton’s desk,
under a pile of crumpled autopsy reports
and an unopened letter from his ex-
wife postmarked the same date
she balanced on the railing
of the Green River overpass and



He Angrily Disagreed

And we stopped correcting him
a while ago.
One sided arguments sparked
by questions we couldn’t answer
honestly without breaking his heart:

Where are my car keys?
I’m holding onto them.
Why am I here?
You live here now.
Who are these people?
They live here, too.
Who are you?
I’m your daughter.
When can I leave?

On October 18th,
carried by people you never met,
flanked by the those wrapped
up in the memories you forgot
burdened by the guilt
of never visiting enough.

Then we’ll collect the remnants:

A picture of two blond-haired girls
with your eyes and chin,
their names written
on the frame.

A drawer full of
Hershey’s and warm Dr. Pepper cans.

A brown leather
recliner that still
smells like you
when the radio
sings Elvira.


Thin Ice

Dear Double-Blades,

with your bunny ears yanked tight
and pink nail polish chips stuck
to your yellow-tipped laces,
you carried her too well
across that heatless sheet.

Next time tell her
to spin left instead of right.

Wrong things happen to little girls too often
often smothered in their mothers’ dreams
dreaming of a world without mascara
turning blonde lashes black
around green eyes that only look blue
when rimmed red.

Double to single when singles turned double
and doubles promised triples but the only things tripled
were the numbers on the scale
above bare blistered toes.

Scrape the toppings off the pizza,
smell the sour vomit in the corner stall
stalling the talk in the car.

“How much is art really worth?
The very thing you’re best at
is the thing that hurts the most.”

Double-Blades, you ruined her,
but not in the ways they warned.
She was too blessed for too short a time.
From Daddy’s Little Champion
to “Where’s Daddy?”
Reaching for the good enough,
never acknowledging the bad enough:
the prodigy’s life sentence.

It’ll get better
but it won’t matter.

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