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I will believe till eternity, or possibly beyond it,

that Lizzie Borden did it with her little hatchet,

and whoever says she didn't commits the sin

of sins, the violation of an idol.

     —Dorothy Parker

As murder chimed with the clockworks

you confessed to thumbing fashions

in Victorian magazines, scribbling

a wish list, cotton dresses to mirror

the verdant sheen of pears.

Mysterious fruits devoured

in your father's barn, clear

juice puddling on your chin

like the stains of lovemaking,

marking the dank place of broken

birds, a spine and feather memory

of Father clipping first their heads,

then your wings. Crimson oils greased

your thighs, his palms, your graduation ring,

a tarnished hope Father refused to break,

circle eternally squeezing his little finger

like your mute mouth sucking

on a bony thing, like your hatchet

cutting a friction burn as you excavated

the skeleton silent beneath

your Father's bones, forcing a response

in the house without words.

Suzanne Burns has two collections of poems (The Flesh Procession and Blight) and is currently working on a collection of short stories that revolves around circus freaks, oddities, and falling in love with someone who eats dirt. You can send Suzanne mail at
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