He is making amends to his victims
in the swarm of their ghosts, enduring
the blades, the beatings, the wringing hands—
each angry shade sucking up heat
as its own death reblooms and blackens.
For thirty years, few women walked
that city alone. In dreams they shrank
beneath his composite-face, took to prayer
in the gore of his wake. The law shaved
off its own flesh, trying to bring closure.
The instant death claimed him in age, a pack
of shades broke from the freeze, scurried
like bats to the rising maw of Hell. There
they blocked him, traded one of their own.
He is making amends to his victims.
First published in the April 2013 issue of Star*Line.