First Crime Scene Photos, 1888

They’re eerie, these black and whites,
camouflaging the cryptic message
of a disemboweled corpse.

Eyelashes like a lamb, did she enter
the pub where he communed at the bar,

forge a quick and dirty deal, a pulling out
from the pub to survey a cathedral dome sky
over London’s East End where ladies

of the night make uneducated unions
between slices of street lamp? He is excited
by the experiment. His religion:

the nearly deserted road, the surprise
of sudden hoof beats on brick, the constable
on the corner, hand on pistol. And then a baptism

by submission – her pulsating jugular, metal
slicing flesh like melon, jagged surgery loosening
the indecent ink for his personal stationary.

Ebony alleyways stretch out like veins
through the city, exit into the Thames.

She sleeps uneasy in her sepulcher;
he is still unsatisfied.

What sanctuary,
what escape from insanity
for the whores of Whitechapel?





nehmerC.L. Nehmer is a poet and freelance writer. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Southern Poetry Review and Geometry. In 2017, she was a Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Muse Contest winner.