Saturday, 12 October 2013

First, they ate her hair

and that, more than what followed, makes him shiver:
how the salad forks would scissor as they doled
the ash blonde vermicelli out between them.

Her watching, shorn, the pattern of her skull
now plain beneath the jigsaw stubble
where the kitchen blades have clipped: here, mere shadow

as a man may show one day without a shave;
here, patchwork squares like carpet
or the fields just after harvest,

their caesuraed stalks a witness
to the violence that fills bellies.
Did she decline, aware of what came next,

the calculus of what-you'll-not-be-needing
that made her limbless first, then, after
the concussive mercy of the rock clenched in his fist,

made her the suckling parody
at centre of the table,
the carving knife slow-sawing, sure,

through rump and breast and shoulder?
Or did she go autophagic, take her share
of gathered shavings in a bowl, try making small talk

as the two of them sucked dryly at each forkful?
He cannot know. The bodies tell the story:
the novice severing of bone, the botched attempts

to staunch the bleeding, and the stomach contents,
still enough to go on. One week more, one less,
there would have been no need for this:

the girl devoured; their bodies laid
beside the family Bible; one last grace,
one halting plea for His forgiveness

before, defying Canon Law,
they slit each other's wrists.

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