Monica Mankin

Death & the Detective

Next to her small body floating face down in the ditch,
he kneels to clip her fingernails,
tiny crusts of evidence, from her wet chalky fingers.
Lifting her head, he wipes mud from her face
to measure the cut just under her eye.
He knows this Girl, this Sister, Daughter,
Lily, Rose, this Baby’s Breath.
He knows the cause of death solves nothing.
For a moment he imagines she is his own.
He runs a finger through her hair,
smoothes the tangled strands behind her upturned ear.
He knows it makes no difference
what he tells her mother when she asks
how it could be. Her daughter is dead.
But fingernails still climb from their beds,
and from the roots of her scalp
her hair still wildly sprouts.


Return to Volume 1.4






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