I am reposting (from July) this poem for Halloween; it is my true life horror story


Forensic ruin seeped into my life
through the doorway to my future
no one was on guard
at the arrival of the dangerous ones
some were close at hand
others I never knew would come
wedging the gate

Tragedy requires back story
a lifetime of striving
by sixteen I was
working eighty hour weeks
food service pays in varicose veins
and suicidal ideation
even in the young
by eighteen I was broken
poverty and neglect were culpable

Years of struggle and abandonment
that words merely cheapen
Sisyphus my companion
days blurred by petty change
nights spent running down concrete corridors
out the backdoor of the American mall
into empty parking lots
trying to see in the dark


Two years of saving
promotions, evaluations, and initiations
got me to the promise
of higher education
a private school
where students really mattered
my professors were my peers
the precious, spoiled kids
their well pressed lives
well, I didn’t fit in

My senior thesis in college
liquid nitrogen flash freezing green buds
the mortal and pestle grinding
separating into its elemental parts
strands of Deoxyribonucleic Acid
sent through gel electrophoresis to find
Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Markers
refining, comparing, determining genetic relatedness
a taste of things to come
it was a year of upheaval
a year of final tests

Joy ambushed me with an engagement
to the man across the hall
he created space,
showed up with love
grateful, besotted, and delirious
I allowed myself to imagine
white dress, black gown
two rites of passage united
emanating hope

Our congregation of families darkened
by dysfunction, divorce and illness
friends devoured themselves
and one another
a poisonous spider struck
leaving necrotic spots –
these were our wedding gifts

We planned to graduate,
get married, launch careers
create a home from scraps
broken but our own
a garden growing out of burnt earth
all these naïve shoots
were overshadowed
by the advent of murder

Weeks of accusations
of horrors and of blood
stained brown in time
a young woman’s life
obliterated by greed
her destiny slaughtered
for only nine hundred dollars
her legacy so shattered
I can’t even remember her name

We were awfully estranged
no one could be together amidst
celebration, mourning, and fighting
while the killer fled the nation
bullet pierced her brow
eradicating her last thought

Justice demanded a trial
traumatizing images displayed
prejudice tore at the jury
three days we deliberated, almost hung,
through the apathy of one,
in the end the juror
didn’t want to choose
she caved to watch her soaps
judgment rendered a life sentence


Juxtapositions that made no sense
death/new life; union/dissolution
all chaos conspired
a close range shot
titrating stress hormones
each moment hard won

The surreal landscape expanded
our honeymoon a gift
spent on a hurricane ravaged
Caribbean island all the time
knowing we were ruined
never wanting to leave the
destroyed place
we felt at home in the aftershock

A breath away from homelessness
with the monsters closing in
we fought each other
vitriolic words
directed at the sky

These things I never thought I’d learn
exposed in graphic detail
the intensity of familial
and societal agony
writ large
shrapnel blown into me

The entrance wound looked clean
there was so little blood
it was the exit wound, the obscured one,
that proved the true disaster
forensic ruin seeped into my life
through that tiny hole, a portal to my future