The day they found her, the out-of-business
antique shop owner set up a Dumpster
to clear out the old stock, ducking
police tape to discard eroded chairs.
Onlookers picked through the alley,
treasure seeking, ignored the line of cruisers.
A delicate rain and a delicate sun
competed for our attention.
The drunks on the corner said,
“She’s not one of ours.” The “she” was a part—
top half dropped one place, hips
and buttocks trundled off somewhere.
Soon, an hour north, a lone leg uncovered.
Silver ankle-bracelet heart: her only identity.
Friends and co-workers, whoever they were,
sat silent as cats in windows.
The camera crew smiled like it was Christmas.
That first week police came knocking
at every door, asking: “Can we look
in your closets? Will you show us your knives?”
All that fall, round the apartment I spun
like lightning banging the sky.
I fought with sleep like a cheating husband,
while rain exhaled her nameless song.
A pebbled dirt crept in and out
with each breath. At night the stars blurred,
anxious, wanting to move farther, farther
into the black, away from this street.
An arrest: casual as the corner store
cranking open its gate, unbending
its awning, snapping plastic ties from a bundle
of newspapers. Story of husband and wife.
made you look, the sign declared as a custom jeweller
renamed the antique place. Inside, gauzy girls
extended necks, wrists, for gold baubles.
Outside, a memory of torso and ankle
severed, disappeared with each downpour.
Leaves etched themselves into the sidewalk,
blood brown. Unchanged, we locked our door,
trudged to work in the shock of real air.