Spoiled Roots – Alicia Turner

while dragging my feet through the mud,
I thought of a murder that took place in my hometown.

And I could remember the killer’s name
but not the victim.

Do you ever find yourself wandering into a memory like that?

Or does that thought untie the ribbon in her hair? The perfectly-wrapped bow?
The one that if you’d unravel, even for a second,
you’d tie yourself in knots.

a friend of a friend told me that I
‘wrote people into weapons,’
and I took it as an insult,
adding insult to injury.

As if that meant that I were an honest
that my words were raw,
a bare-knuckled
symphony of sirens
calling out for anyone.

As if being a killer who claimed their kills
made the slaughter less
raw, real,
and reaching.

Even now,
I drag your name through the mud
for dragging me like a spoiled root.

I plant you face-first in a garden of off-season growth.
And I blame you for the decay.
And I blame you for the rot.

Even now,
I’m a little shy at showing up for people,
and my visits to their burial,
though brief,
are brave.

But if you look closely, I am here,
hollowed out,

screaming a hollow victory
in someone’s mouth,

All of the lives
I’ve lived before you,