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Susan Demarest

Teenage Homicide
"There is a crack, a crack in everything...
That's how the light comes in."
Anthem, Leonard Cohen

I think, that is, I’m sure, I killed

my twin inside the womb—and once again

when he was born, but I don’t discuss

my homicides, that summer night, the dance,

the satin sky, my body pinned against a broken grave,

his hand against my mouth so that

I had to kill again—but I don’t speak

about the past as I’m still here

and he is gone; because this mining

of the past, the thought that this will be the key,

to find the victims that you hid—because you had to

just to live—I know it will not set you free

nor will the light come creeping in,

so I have built a country wall;

it’s ornamental and it’s long.

Letter From Paul

Sundays still are rough, because the quiet

and the stains; your satin sheets are soaking wet;

you must have done something last night but what? Outside,

the finches have come to blows, their morning

solos up for grabs—it seems there are two points of view

—the cranky jay up in the tree is not amused—

but you’ve still got the day

you’ve got your perfect dog to walk

and look: the tail is going now; one smell

after the rain is all she needs to feel alive—and now

the morning choir has started; the jay has flown

into the brush to hear the finches get it right; it’s true,

sometimes, you have to yell—and no regrets—it’s all for art;

and Sunday coffee is the best; you make the eggs and trace

the butter on the bread, I know; too much—

do you remember growing up,

the Sunday funnies gobbled up

the crumb cake falling on the page and then

to church? You didn’t mind because the funnies

and the crumbs, the Reverend Smith, his balding head,

his anger rising through the veins above his robe, the silver

threads stitched on the stole while you sat staring out the window

at the light, the broken graves, the sermon’s drone, another letter sent from Paul

until at last, the final hymn—No, wait—the benediction,

Aaron’s prayer: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make

His face to shine upon you, The Lord lift up His countenance

upon you . . . and give you peace” which, now you know

meant, “Child, your house is bloated with regrets,

but you can go; God’s love, et cetera.”

Susan Demarest is an educator and writer who lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Her features on antiques and decorative art have appeared in Collectibles Magazine, and her poetry and CNF have appeared in Hawaii Review, Tar River Poetry, Ibbettson Street Press, Tell, Medical Literary Messenger (VCU) and Molecule Tiny Lit Magazines. Her blog is found at

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