Jane Rahman CC
Monsters dressed as men
I keep score of them. Every morning, in the papers.
On the bedframe, an inheritance from an unknown
Travis from the floor upstairs explains over cherry lit
cigarettes how he understands the fundamental process
of men like Bundy or Israel Keyes. That a hand was just
a method to distribute violence, to love.
He kisses me after asking how long I thought
Epstein’s sentence really was. If I ever imagined fatality
in the morning by the cereal bar, waiting for the line to
die off. If I ever felt the need to break parts down enough
to find room to breathe deep.
His kiss was like a punctuation mark
after a curtain of electricity descending
in final motion. My soul twisted. It flew
away, out my mouth. It followed the long
scream of an ambulance before resting on
the light post marking a pathway. Listening
for the tea cup rattling. Waiting for floodlights
to flick on, making some break in the darkness.
Travis keeps motioning to the space between Ted and Bundy
while I adjust scorecards, blacking out lines. Can you separate
a name from a reputation? A smudge of ash from the lines of
a mouth, his space? My wrist bone glares back, marked with
lines. A name in case I end up in a corn field three miles away,
dismantled and nameless. Travis says he loves me, that I’m here
with him in the moment. Present, like a gift. I say it back because
it is safer to break a bone yourself than to wait for someone else
to do it with their own hands.
There is a privilege to playing a game that makes fools out of us all.
Rachel Small is a writer based outside of Ottawa and is exactly one half of Splintered Disorder Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in magazines including blood orange, Anti-Heroin Chic, Thorn Literary Magazine, the winnow magazine, Ample Remains, and Northern Otter Press. You can find her on Twitter @rahel_taller.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.