Monday, November 25, 2019

J.D. Smith


Serial killer sites, and you can go
a whole career without one,
are far and away the worst.
Unless the crime and the hiding happen
off in a corner of a pig farm or something
that can be parceled off from the property
you’re looking at a teardown for sure
once they get done excavating all over
and punching through the drywall
for whatever they can find.
Don’t envy that job.
If the guy gets famous enough
you’re lucky if you can offload
the lot in under 18 months.
Whatever the city says the address is
it might as well be 13 or 6-6-6.

Regular murder houses and places
where somebody ate a gun
go pretty much on a case-by-case basis.
Definite teardown potential, especially if you’ve got
multiple victims or any of them’s a kid,
but the cleanup companies have it figured out.
Give them a day or two, longer if they want—
I’m not getting anywhere near that kind of mess—
and they can work the closest thing
to a miracle I’ve ever seen.
It comes down, sure, to what you can do
with an exhaust fan, bleach, fresh paint, sure,
and whatever the subcontractors have to fix,
but, more often than not, places end up
looking a damn sight better than before.
Not that it’s much consolation for the families
other than the price they can get.

Old age, terminal cases, the quiet suicides
like razors or pills, somebody hanging himself
that isn’t too heavy and doesn’t break anything,
you’ve got nothing to worry about
as long as the body isn’t left too long.
It goes to the funeral home or the morgue,
once in a while to a medical school—
and the maids can swoop in
like it’s a regular day, routine maintenance
like grouting tiles or tuckpointing,
like caulking the tub.

Gerald So reads "Appraisal":

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J.D. confesses: "This poem came from thinking about the practicalities of clean-up after two deaths in the complex where I live. This in turn led me to think about the respective sites of Robert Pickton's murders and the murder of all but one member of a family in a Washington, DC home."

J.D. SMITH's fourth poetry collection, The Killing Tree, was published in 2016. He is currently seeking publishers for collections of poetry and crime fiction. And a children's picture book. Smith lives and works in Washington, DC.

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