Medea to Susan Smith, 1995


It would have been better if we both had guns / if it had been over more quickly maybe we would have had more time to grieve, to feel a guilt bigger than fire & lake. There’s always the hypothetical: what if your family wasn’t an ache full of cemeteries, or the hushed clink of your second father’s belt buckle. What if you weren’t father haunted—& what if they believed you. But those things did happen & that leads us to our camaraderie: terrors where stairs are collapsing & the traffic lights hunt somebody. I’ve been meaning to ask you, when it was over, how did you re-learn to fill glasses of water / windows of water? While on the subject: that thing about the hand on the window—do you pretend you imagined it? I know the feeling. I can’t use the teakettle anymore / the whistle-scream ache into flashback. I shudder away with the visions: I’m suspended in cobwebs, strings plucked & bound by my ankles / my wrists, hear the clicking of pincers, but never quite see them. Is that what it’s like where you are? I forget you don’t have a chariot to take you into sun—lungs still pink, still forced to remember: betrayals ripen to perfection, then spoil.







Image Credits: Flickr: Joshua Kruger