“The Corpse”

I’m a cop
And I’m looking down
At the battered body
Of a young woman.
Face obliterated
Hair crudely cropped
Above her ears
Finger tips
Scraped clean
Clothing gone.
An anonymous victim
Of indiscriminate
Street crime.
So I think.

Government agents
High-tech equipment
And heavy heat
From black
Muscle cars.
Fresh scrubbed
College-boy underlings
Take the body
While the lined
And tousled
Veterans of the field
Original copies
Of reports
And photos.
No explanations
Are offered
No explanations
Are expected.

However I now know
My pummeled corpse
Is not
An anonymous victim
Of indiscriminate
Street crime.
And I am curious.
I scour newspapers
For the missing
The mistreated
The mysterious
Young woman.
I go online
And read the words
Of broken-hearted men
And tales
Of wives
And lovers
Who left them.

My instinct
Tells me
She is not one
Of the lost loves
And that hard as I may try
I will never
Learn her identity
Or her connection
To the men
In the black
Muscle cars
With the high-tech equipment
And the heavy heat.

I also know
That she has captured
My interest
And that she will become
My cold case.
Her history
And demise
Will haunt me
My career
And into retirement.

Because this young woman
Who does not carry
Reminds me
Of my daughter
Who has been missing
Since she was
And I am willing
To attach
The backstory
Of this woman
Whose life
And death
May have had
A degree of importance
To the seemingly mundane
And unresolved existence
Of my beloved daughter.

(Written for dVersePoets, Open Link Night 83, February 12, 2013.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to “The Corpse”

  1. brian miller says:

    ugh…dang…what a close man…you packed a novel into your verse….seriously you should write this one out long form…at least a short story….enjoyed man…

  2. Wonderful job of showing his caring, human side, vb.


  3. HisFireFly says:

    oh my, this…
    and the lingering questions that come and come and come again in the night…

  4. You layer the cop’s sensitivity and questions line after line and as a reader I feel…this is real.Could and does happen.

  5. vb holmes says:

    Many thanks, Lynne–I sometimes wonder how police officers live with the horror they see–would be made much worse if it hits home with a family member.

  6. You definitely have a good story here. I found myself reading this poem slower than expected. Usually poems with short verses have a fast rhythm. I had no problem with this. I would recommend you, though, to rework some of the verses with little or no meaning, e.g.:
    At that
    At that she

    This is just a suggestion, of course. Thanks for sharing your words.

  7. vb holmes says:

    Hi Adriana,
    Many thanks for your comments–I greatly appreciate suggestions and am thinking about your observations. It seemed important to me to indicate that he would never get answers as she was somehow connected to a government agency and that his obsession would last as he had personalized her existence. However, perhaps as you suggest, that information is superfluous so I will continue to think on it. Again, many thanks–I really do appreciate hearing your views.

  8. I might have not explained myself properly. I don’t mean to rework everything between these two verses. Just focus on weak verses and perhaps the ones (one or two) following them. The idea aims at having a poem where each verse (line) has real meaning. In that sense, a verse like “And that” has almost no meaning, so I would remove it. The next verse, ” hard as I may try” works fine as is, or it could be updated to “as hard as I may try”. I like your poem, in particular its narrative style. The feedback is meant at making it even stronger. 🙂

  9. This is really good. I agree with Brain it should be a full story.

  10. vb holmes says:

    Again, my thanks, Adriana–I must admit when I read your first comment I thought you were suggesting big changes. I did eliminate those two lines, but kept the wording pretty much the same. Next time, I’ll try to be more aware of weak verses. Again, thanks, and thanks for the nice comment.

  11. lucychili says:

    i am glad it is fiction. it sounds awful. it is a scary time when police burn people alive and shoot hundreds of rounds into cars and such like. it becomes hard to see them as a moderating element.

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