Jonbenét

Always picture the eyes. Like I’m in

the wings of a show that’s about to

open. I wear the blue dress I know I’ll get

catcalled in. Premeditate then forget.

For a while until the car stops at the red

light and the window rolls down

slowly. Or the broken window in the

basement. Or the blue lights of police

cars at Christmas in 1996 when I

wasn’t even born yet. You, in your cowboy hat, your

rhinestone tiara. What we can at

least determine is that someone is

probably lying. About the house and

the ransom and how much you enjoyed

or didn’t enjoy your mother’s

influence. As if it’s about whether you

enjoyed it. When he slid his fingers

under my new underwear is this good for

you? The desire to be touched against

the desire to touch. Maybe I’m

supposed to be opened. Delicate.

There’s a killer out there and yet you

are twirling. On the tapes. Dancing.

I’ve been watching and re-watching. I wasn’t even born yet. My mother put

me into dance classes at three years

old. Twirling on the tapes she shows at

Christmas. Someone is probably lying.

And I don’t feel real until I confirm my

existence on screen and watch myself

move. I worry I believe what everyone

tells me. That I’m small and quiet and

that you were betrayed, that you were

captivating in that white bed sheet.

Captivating in the dresses and the

makeup too. Eyes must have

lingered. Fault. Indication. Should have

known what would happen. Always

picture the eyes when I wear the

blue dress. When he slid his fingers under my new

underwear they look nice. After he

fucked me. Watched and re-watched

me. On and off. Something about the

DNA. And on the tapes I watch for

signs of guilt in faces of people I

don’t know. Either they did it or they

didn’t watch for the eyes. The

interviews and the commentary on how

you were dressed too old for your age

as if there’s a right age when you’re

ready to be devoured as if it mattered

what you wore in that white bed sheet. Gem McHaffey, Fall 2018


artwork by Maya Hayda

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