Issue > Poetry
Alexandra Teague

Alexandra Teague

Alexandra Teague is the author of Mortal Geography (Persea 2010), winner of the 2009 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize and the 2010 California Book Award. A former Stegner and NEA fellow, she is Assistant Professor of Poetry at University of Idaho.

Ghost Tours: Diamond Bessie, 1877

It wasn't just the jewels; the couple
had all their own teeth, and arrived

by train with matching luggage—her
glittering around the Capitol Hotel,

and him packing the picnic lunch.
They sat on the red velvet couch still

in the lobby, and no one knew his real
name, or that his family in Europe

kept zebras to pull their coaches—not
til later at the trial. The ants had found

the bullet hole in her head and circled
it like honey. A well-dressed corpse.

Though she was a prostitute, really—
a dues-paying soiled dove. He was caught

in Cincinnati, convicted, acquitted. Shot
one eye out attempting suicide. A crime

unparalleled in the record of blood
. Texas' first
big murder. Two days he waited to leave

Jefferson: wore her rings to breakfast,
with her sprawled there by the empty

basket. Maybe he wanted someone
to guess she wasn't really visiting friends

in the bayou. Or maybe he was hoping
she'd wake, rubbing her eyes at the light

that must look better than diamonds
if you've been dead for a little while.

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