Confession: Silva’s Quarry

“It seemed we were doing some good
by dumping the body in the quarry;
that each ballast we stuffed down her throat
to pull her toward the bottom
was a good intention approaching salvation
not for ourselves but for others, say,
her family, or friends, who might be haunted
by the scene for lifetimes to follow.
We brushed her nails clean and never
undressed her. We wrapped her in a sheet.
When Vaughn rolled her down the hill toward
the mossy rocks, with Sid out in front,
walking backward, stepping over roots
to control her descent, her arm lolled out,
got spotted with leaves, and we stopped
to wrap her up again. We picked debris
from her forearms, hair, thighs, and wrists.
It was a wasted effort, we all knew that,
and so no one had to say it as we stood
by the quarry’s edge. Out on the black water
a small snake swam, made ripples
as it approached our shadows, which were long.
The water lapped at the granite, and an owl,
or something, moved beyond the branches of a tree,
prompting me to stand. I’m the one who nudged her
over the edge, and we watched as she sank,
the water bubbled, and her shadow disappeared
as though ink had spread about the pool.”

This poem is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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