Jane Doe #13

By Don Thompson

Not every killer is all in.
Some drop the bloody weapon
and run (not far)
without stopping to wipe off fingerprints,
as if wanting to be caught.

Some sit down and wait for the cops.

Some saran wrap their victims
and freeze them—
clingers who discard nothing.
Or want time to decide
where to expose the meat
and let it thaw.

Some prefer to gift wrap;
others off load in an alley,
covering the body with debris—
a foot or hand sticking out
on purpose to give a passerby
nightmares for years.

But more than you’d like to think
maintain the frenzy,
hacking victims into manageable portions
with a cleaver in a bathtub
or pruning them out in the woods
with a chainsaw.

Frenzy—or not, butchery
can be common sense.
Messy but effective tactics
to disperse black plastic trash bags
here and there along the Interstate,
toss them in random dumpsters,
or into the ocean—not sunk
to where the sea keeps its dead
until Judgment,
but found floating in the bay.


No unflattering clay mock-up
or sketches that could be anyone
since her head’s missing—
along with both arms
and legs from the knees down.

Torso only—an exact
replica of a Greek Aphrodite
though no one, sickened,
would ever see it like that.

Not elegant rubble, survivor
of an ancient earthquake
that snapped off limbs
and shattered the bouncing head
with its noncommittal smile.

And not Parian marble
that cleans up so white, pure white,
after millennia underground,
smooth, flawless and semi-translucent.

But flesh already rotting,
its original polished walnut sheen
turning gray, muddled,
and salt water wrinkled.

Contours less than classic—
a misshapen block of soaked wood
with love handles and pudge,
abdomen scarred with stretch marks.

And above her heart,
a fist-size tattooed apple
that must’ve been intensely red—
bruised blue flesh of the fruit
where a bite’s been taken out of it.
Of course.


Maybe a hooker with no remorse
or an ex—born again missionary
to girls on designated corners
in their absurd, semiotic outfits,
flashing tramp stamps.

Who’s this or any Jane?

Could be an out-of-work
and thirsty retro waitress
who called the wrong man hon.
Or a neo gypsy
too sure of her street smarts.

A high school drop-out,
once so fresh,
no more appetizing now
than stale white bread sliced so thin
her ribs show.
Could be.

Drifter like smoke
in still air—on the move,
but moving in slow circles
and going nowhere.

Maybe Jane’s only a dust mote
drifting in afternoon light,
ephemeral. Or a shadow
that casts its own shadow—
casts it across us.

Bio: Don Thompson has been publishing poetry for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks. “A San Joaquin Almanac” won the Eric Hoffer Award for 2021 in the chapbook category. For more info and links to publishers, visit his website HERE.

Published by .

Publishing Editor for The Yard: Crime Blog.

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