New Poem

True Story #3: Missing

First a foot, then the whole body
found wedged upside-down behind
a tall bookcase,

a young woman missing in a home
she shared with her family
most of her life.

Eleven days misplaced, the police surmised
she simply fell over trying to adjust
a television plug behind the shelves—

Simply, as if she disappeared
to that land of lost socks and
missing keys

and could be retrieved
simply by believing it so.
Her sister passed her bedroom

without stopping to look
but could not put her finger
on that unfamiliar odor

soaking the house in loss.
It doesn’t matter, at this point,
if they believed it was a kidnapping,

or death or escape.
Only the following remains:
a little thing miscalculated, collapsed,

and gave way. What new fear
will guide their silent house at night—
her absence pinned against a plaster wall.

In the end, it wasn’t enough
to see her every day,
to love her silence and her shaky grace.

They seem convinced of
a quiet so deep
even common sense can’t intrude on it.

Every now and then, I write stories based on news events. Currently, this one is running on Also in the series are True Story and True Story #2: Devotion. Feels goos to write about people outside of my family. Constructive feedback is welcome.


la vie en rose said…
what a terrible story. but you've been able to take it and create something meaningful from it.
claireylove said…
I like the way you guide the reader in as though it's a piece of magical realism, the whole piece has a fantastical feel to it, nicely undercut by the 'true story' title. horrific tale though. euggh.

p.s. have you been suffering from unwanted feedback?
Anonymous said…
It's like an Edgar Allan Poe story!

You know how much I love these "true stories" of yours. Yet another excellent job. The stanza:

Simply, as if she disappeared
to that land of lost socks and
missing keys

puts a malevolent twist on a typically innocent turn of phrase. Well done.

Happy post-Thanksgiving!
Anonymous said…
This is a really messed up story. The story, not the poem. The poem handles the material in a lovely way; the story is "simply" bizarre.
January said…
Dana, yeah it's a sad thing when your family can't find you in their own house.

BB, no I have not had any unwanted feedback. But every once in a while I feel the need to clarify the kind of reponses that I'm looking for from readers. Does that make sense?

Erin, we have to talk about the Mary Oliver reading!
Writer Bug said…
Great poem, scary story!
I love this line esp:
Only the following remains:
a little thing miscalculated, collapsed,

I like the use of remains, which made me think of the bodily remains.
paris parfait said…
Yes, I read about this tragic story. Your poem is a good reflection of the actual event and tragedy of it all.
Anonymous said…
This is a very creative use of a news story. When I read your poem I figured it was true in a metaphorical sense. I never would have guessed it was literally true.

I especially like "as if she disappeared
to that land of lost socks and
missing keys."
Anonymous said…
we are all just teetering, arent' we? you've captured it so nicely here, the neat little fact that we all forget--but for the grace of God go I. And i'm not even religious, but i know of no other phrase that captures it. how quickly things can change. how sad when no one notices it does.
Kamsin said…
What a scary story, you'd think after two weeks the smell would have led them to the body! The poem I absolutely love!

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