Posted in Chutzpah

The Law

Murder was uncommon then,
uncommon in the former colony at the bottom of the world
one per year
or often two, in three.
The female tourist was missing, overdue
but without a body, still missing person
the police didn’t find the body –
it found them –
the smell. Under a bridge the road left the coast
and ran off with the mountains.

Family travel onto the bridge as the thought murderer
drove off
narrow, squeezing past
the eight-year-old was certain, absolute, but
children’s testimony didn’t hold sway in those days,
his mother less so.

At the identity parade she wasn’t sure
could be, might be, possibly …
… couldn’t swear, couldn’t be sure wouldn’t want to commit.
The Chief Inspectors body language told her –
deflating balloon of hope –
she offered to try again.
The Head of Enquiry and senior police pleased
a junior constable – couldn’t have been on-the-job more than a year
stepped forward and said,
that was against the rules that
a witness is permitted only one attempt,
one attempt to identify a suspect in a lineup,
they weren’t allowed a second, that was against the rules.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.