true crime shows in syndication transmute the natural world into a threatening beast—
worse than any clawed or toothed predator are the soft-skinned ones who come
bearing bouquets of redbuds or trout lilies, which always somehow become a bag of bones
in some kind of alchemical sleight-of-hand when rings & vows are added to the incantation.
there are no woods deeper or darker than the hearts of bad husbands. no wolves more merciless
& bloodthirsty than lovers turned away
— after all, aren’t these beasts just heartsick, besotted boys?
that’s the fiction we transliterate out of memoirs transcribed in forensics, in facial reconstructions
& bone fragments, DNA matches & wayward hairs. wreathed in night-blooming wild petunias
& Small’s skullcaps. wrapped up in bedsheets & comforters, bedded down in graves dug shallow,
how the soil groans at another body entering it unwillingly, another lamb
left bleating in the woods after dark, tied to a tree as an offering to the gods
not to take the whole town with it,