Cover Photo- "Almond Blossoms" by Vincent Van Gogh
March 2020 Edition
Those Who Suffered
1. A.A. The officers body cam video showed his shocked face, Twisted into an eternal expression of fear. A bullet hole in his forehead, bleeding Mouth agape, eyes wide, arms outstretched as he lay unmoving on the ground. Almost as if he was asking his killer to stop and think of his actions. A money driven murder, Because a wad of cash is worth a man's life. The killer left him in the dirt, like trash. Not thinking of the wife and four children he had waiting for him at home. 2. T.B. Dragged and left in a shed. The most dehumanizing case. Naked, covered in mud, wood piled on top of her. The hammer used to kill her on the shelf above. Her arms and face gashed and bashed in. The house bleached, top to bottom. Luminol reveals all in the end. A lovers quarrel murder, He loved her to death. Enough to hit her over over over Until she stopped fighting. 3. D.N. Mud Packed onto his face, in his throat Passed his broken hyoid bone, into his lungs. His killer didn’t want to see his face, leaving handprints behind. Youth ultimately destroyed, on both ends. A no motive murder, He just snapped Beating a friend to death. Stealing his phone, revisiting his body a day later Left to rot in a puddle in the woods, His skin darkening and lightening about his body Innocence ultimately lost, Never to be restored.
December 2019-January 2020 Edition
Five Gallon Bucket
I sat alone in the gallery when they wheeled him in A baby, one-year-old to be exact, laid cold and lifeless Light tan skin, inky black hair, naked on the examination table His face was ever so cherubic and sweet, as if he were napping.
The medical examiners began to cut a deep “Y” into his chest, Like the scalpel was cutting through butter.
They cracked through his ribs, no shears required Pulling out his heart, my breath hitched as I watched the serous fluid drip Pale yellow and transparent, covering the examiners blue glove
Removal of his organs was quick Liver, kidneys, pancreas, stomach, intestines, lungs All in that order, and all into a bag in a five-gallon bucket.
Strange, How a whole organ system of someone fits in a bucket.
They grabbed a skull saw, Cut. Cut. Cut. Until the top of his skull fell, clattering onto the metal examination table. They reached in and pulled his brains out.
His cause of death was evident, even to me. A subdural hematoma, brain bleed from suffocation pressure He had suffered while dying.
The gallery became colder at that moment. Darker, the reality of how fragile life is set in.
But the examiners didn’t halt, not even for a moment. They dissected his brain, pulling the clotted sheet of blood away Into a Tupperware, sent to the lab for a confirmation cause of death.
The examiners then grabbed a camera and began to snap A dismembered child. They rolled him around, his open chest cracking and snapping Every movement was fluid and detached.
I felt the overwhelming urge to scream, to weep, to flee
To them, this was just another day. Just another body, That they could stuff into a five-gallon bucket.