POETRY | In the Margins of the Coroner’s Report

The victim wanted to watch more movies
with her boyfriend, wanted to sit on the edge 
of the Grand Canyon, blindfolded, awaiting 
 
his proposal, and wanted to work up the courage
to taste calamari. Cause of death: knife wound.  
According to residue under her fingernails, 
 
she would’ve planted a garden with cantaloupe 
and beans. Manner of death: homicide. 
It’s reasonable to believe her blood 
 
would’ve wandered through three pregnancies—
nearly a fourth. At 43, her hair would’ve 
grayed. And when her eyes blurred,
 
she would’ve worn large-rim glasses
like her mother’s; although she would’ve 
denied the likeness. She would’ve sung 
 
“Amazing Grace” at her father’s funeral 
and asked to keep his silver cross 
from Vietnam. The victim would’ve presented 
 
signs of Alzheimer’s in her late 60s 
and died not knowing 
her second husband’s name, which
 
would’ve been Rick. He would’ve loved 
the murdered girl if he’d met her 
while standing in line twenty-two years from now, 
 
both of them newly divorced, him buying 
charcoal, her buying seeds and a journal.


GaryDopGary Dop, an English professor at Randolph College, lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife, Liz, and their three lovely daughters. His work jumps across mediums–essays, poems, and scripts. His first book of poems is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. You can find his work in various journals, including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and AGNI, as well as at www.garydop.com.