The Great Detective

A poem, by Matthew


Trilby culturally superfluous, anachronistic pipe discarded in the thin room’s light,

He stands naked, fighting against the desire to retch.

Every time it is the same pale room, the same

Girl’s body as the first; fifteen, throat slit, glassy eyed in terror,

Rope marks burnt into her wrists.

Everything stopped for her, but for him the old, primal hunt restarts, Cain is reborn

And even for those who catch him, it’s not enough to wipe clean the stench and vomit.

The white coats and plastic bags, camera flashes and little grey-cells record ghoulish details;

Death hangs heavy in the room.

Earlier her scream was cut short, unnoticed by the passers by.

The sound of children playing in the street and the rumble of cars muffled her agony.

Echoes sound amidst the silent confessional; the tears of the sister downstairs,

Chimes from the window in pale fading sunlight.

The time is 16:07.

It was her sister who found the body,

Violated in the family home when she should have been at school.

Evidence lies scattered around the bedroom.

Evidence lies silent and invisible amongst the fibres of her skin and nails and clothes.

Violence will forever soak the thinness of the room and the house, a layer of suffocating dust

Invisible pressure; his presence pressing down on her broken body,

Tangible and twisted beneath him – did she know him?

China shards dig into the carpet in the hall, in his mind

Empty glasses stand in the kitchen.

Trees outside her window whisper, gossip.

Eyewitness statements are being taken from the carpet and the sheets.

Daylight is fading, the camera flashes fix her in her room.

This time, as in all times from the first, they came too late,

A ravaging horde of invisible violent witness, silently noting details.

Empirically categorising, sorting, synthesising;

Recognising the pattern in the departure from the pattern.

Gritting his teeth he promises the girl that he will catch him this time;

Empty words for an empty body.

He reaches over alone and brushes the child’s cheek,

The great detective.