Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Touched the Hand of Evil

When just a boy
the seedling sprouted bracken
twined in rot.
And spectacled men sought him out.

Rolling up the sleeves of their crisp
white shirts and standing ready
to exhume answers with the tender touch
of hands grown soft yet
sure as the stroke of a pen

                   they asked him

What do boys grow up to be?

Men, said he.

Good, very good, said they
jotting notes in blots of ink.
And Girls, they asked him next
What do girls grow up to be?

Oh, said he, and sure he was
certainly as sure as they could ever be
and just as certainly never as soft.

Girls grow up to be punished.

And as he grew his hands
neither tender nor soft
unearthed answers of a different sort
solutions buried under bracken
twined in rot
and blood.

And his grip like bracken
twined around a young girl’s throat
firm and sure as they choked her life away.

Yes. If girls grow up to be punished
his were a punisher’s hands
sure and firm
dark with graveyard dirt and nails
as yellow as the devil’s teeth
too thick too long untrimmed and
primed to catch scrapes
of flesh and blood --
his own mechanics’ grease.

         Yet he had no pride for engines.
He favored the trunk
a space big enough to hold someone
ready to be punished.

In between he handled coins
and crisp dollar bills.

The dollar bills I gave him.
The coins he gave me.

And in that transaction
so like yet so unlike any other
on any given day
I touched him
his grave-stained hands
his yellow deviled nails.

I touched the hand of evil
the punisher
the bracken twined in rot
and the throats of four young girls
who never grew up at all

  •  In memory of the young victims of Leslie Allan Williams, and in gratitude of the Oakland County (Michigan) Police, who arrested Williams in time to save the life of victim #5, and God only knows how many others.
Killed between 1991 – 1992:
  • Kami Marie Villaneuva, 18
  • Cynthia Jones, 16
  • Michelle Urbin, 16
  • Melissa Urbin, 14

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