Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Her Name Was Becky

by Tamara Madison

The morning after our dog barked, barked,
barked into the darkness, a row of cars
appears on the side of the road at the half mile
turn. The cars are there all day, windows
glinting in the sunlight, and men in dress
trousers with big cameras prowl around
in the dirt on the edge of the neighbor’s farm.
My parents do not say why, if they even know.
The next day, Mother hands me an article:
A girl from another town, Becky Sayers
is her name, a girl about my age, ten,
found dead in a ditch. Something about a man
and a car outside of a store in Brawley,
something about puppies. Then, “Officers
have not determined whether it was a sexual
assault.” I don’t know what that means,
but perhaps something in those words
can tell me why Mother has given it
to me to read instead of telling me herself.
I hold the yellow square like a puzzle
my eyes can hardly fathom.

* * * * *

Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, The Worcester Review, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac and many other publications. A swimmer, dog lover and native of the southern California desert, she is thrilled to have recently retired from teaching English and French in a Los Angeles high school, and more thrilled still to be awaiting a second grandchild into the world.

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