Bodies have been sprouting from the groves for years,
pale flowers breaking under the face of the moon,
stretching mangled limbs toward the pine barrens and the sea.
Her hair is still tassled cornsilk
but now maggots and small beetles shine
in hollows where eyes reflected stars and leaves.
No one can tell me why Bluebeard killed his first wife,
there were no dead women whispering at the door —
what was the first crime and what was the last?
Men by the coast catch fire in their nets
pull it up,
pull it in,
pray it’s not the same scarf
his daughter hung to dry last night.
Were they strangled, drowned or drugged?
Did he keep them in a shack, or lock them in a tower?
Did he answer when they asked how many came before?
This is the true crime podcast neverending,
this is the body left broken and swinging in the rain.
My grandmother’s shawl streaked with blood —
I’ll never get it clean, I’ll never be new again.
The girls are missing
have been missing
Gwyneth Volkmann is currently an events professional in New York City. She studied biology and global health in college and has a master’s degree in paleontology. Outside of work she likes to explore the city, embroider, and read true crime books on the subway.
Artwork: Natalia Drepina