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.
Gary 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.