VILLAINELLE - Lynn Crosbie Poems


Poems » lynn crosbie » villainelle


for Aileen Wuornos

Come now, do this, my soul! No secret murder
earns renown; proclaim in people's eyes
your cruel and bloody skill.
     – Medea

I painted a picture for Arlene, and wrote
across the moon and stars, pick a dream /
any dream. longing here, for her
consultant fingers, an arcana of cards
splayed over my desolate body.
empêomflex;chement, déplaisir, une lettre,
une brune, la mort. she says she
wishes she was a magician; she would
get me out of here, keys sewed in her
palms, she would pull silver from my
ears, my mouth. she is my last chance,
I asked her to help me, l need to change
before I fall. I have killed seven men.
each time, I flagged them down and I put them
out of their misery. I would stand by the
topless bar, by the highway and smile and say,
hello handsome. hello baby, could I get
a lift? and kiss them, empty their pockets
and strip off their clothes. take it all off,
I said, and shot them dead. Arlene, I wrote,
you are way too kind / to get to know my kind
of mind. but if you listen, I will tell you
where it ended and I began.

Was there another Troy for her to burn?
seven marks on the wall, seven shadows.
I know that I left Troy, Michigan,
behind me. but the men I grew up
with interface, brother stepfather
grandfather. my corner of the yellow house
was draped in pink chenille, a daisy
clock, a baby doll that cried and cried.
they would circle my bed, and I buried myself
under the sheets, percale smooth, frayed
from my teeth, my screams! suddenly, they,
he pushed my hands behind my back and covered
my mouth. I can't remember, the grass, the daisies
leave orange silt on my legs and the sky is
black. the sky, my mother, is a cold
compress and his tongue his pores his eyes
are not there. nothing, but the pain and
that never goes away, I have to stop the
pain. his low growl, the hair raised on
his neck, his brilliant teeth. they travel in
packs, picking her bones, fleece, muscle,
she is lost and far from home and when she hears
them in the wind she is afraid.
I turned mean back then. listen you old
bastard if you ever touch me again, I'll
tear you to pieces and eat your flesh. I
imagine a bloody trail, ear eyelid thigh
foot that leads to the seashore. taking
his magic, my magic and I leave, with a dragon at
my heels and their voices, calling.

In Florida the living is easy. I pull on
my stockings dress and stiletto heels; I
stand on the corners, where the palm trees
are. their serrated leaves fringe your
picture Arlene, and lizards hang on the
windowpanes, I said, do you feel lonely,
or would you like some company? but it
wasn't the work, it was their faces,
destitute and barren. without her,
I would have killed them sooner, earthly
words cannot describe how I felt about
her. beautiful Tyria, I cherish the night we
met at the Last Resort when she nailed my slip
to the bar and we danced until we were breathless.
why don't you do something, she said, if you
can't stand it any more, my hate was palpable,
something between us. I know you can't understand,
but the first time, seeing him crumpled beside me,
I just fell in love.

I became careless and they found me. they combed my
apartment and found glass cleaner, bullets,
tattered neckties, but I never surrendered.
and so, you found me here, in the last place
I'll ever live, in these pious chambers.
you touch me through the mesh and bars, and
wonder at the danger. does your skin burn,
on contact? I think you are enamoured of
my history, you wear my death like pendant
earrings and never ask, I lived in the forest
once, when I ran away. and dreamed below the
poplars, in the ferns and moss, it is there that
I perfected my cruel and bloody skill, and it
is here I am devoted to the memory. you want
to save me, so I'm asking you. to slip in at
night and take my clothes. the shapeless grey dress,
the embroidered numbers. to cover your face,
and I will leave, as you, and drive away. you can
hope and pray, as they strap you into the electric
chair, but I will be gone. long gone, as the
smoke plumes from your temples and your eyes bake
under their metal vices. I will be cruising,
slowly along the highway, smiling at your grief,
your error. I never cared, Arlene, and I never will;
I'm strange that way.