Twelve sharp, they strap Elmo Smith
in the electric chair and poise to flick the switch.
I'm in fifth grade, the middle of math
when the crackly announcement enters the room:
Turn your radio on.... The execution
covered live, as the body sizzles, teacher
orders us to bow heads and rejoice
the evil scourge has been eliminated.
We know what the man with the clown name
has doneraped, tortured, murdered
Mary Ann Mitchell, 17-year old honor student.
Her breasts removed, my friend attests,
two tupperware containers hidden in his trunk.
Reporter repeats ghastly details of the crime,
body found in muddy ditch in Andorra Road
Nursery. Someone asks why it was dumped
at a nursery school. We wonder what our
little brothers and sisters might dig up
in the sand box, might trip over avoiding
touch tag, what the pet goat might be
chomping on. Better not tell them.
Police Chief Mitchell declares the world safe
again for kids. We're certain Mary Ann
was his daughter, even though
teacher laughs it off. That's why he's taken
over as crossing guard, banished our safety
patrol to the parking lot. The special-ed kid,
named Elmer is guarded by his brother Roy
on the blacktop, before and after school.
When it comes time to botch our memorized
Gettysburg Address, the extra-credit poster
some girls made from newspaper clippings
of Mary Ann, complete with meticulous magic
marker heart-and-flower border, keeps
distracting us. Everyone fails, no one makes
it past these dead shall not have died in vain,
and, when someone asks where vain is,
teacher snaps in derisionknowing we think
it might be a destination for a future class trip.
- Abayomi Animashaun
- Justin Skylar Belote
- Brenda Butka
- Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor
- MRB Chelko
- Marcus Civin
- Susan Comninos
- Rebecca Cook
- William G Davies Jr.
- Russell Susumu Endo
- Victoria Givotovsky
- Ashwin Kannan
- Anja Konig
- Leonard Kress
- Tim B Muren
- Jeffrey Perkins
- Gretchen Primack
- Billy Reynolds
- Austin Smith
- Joseph Stanton
- David Thacker