On the medical examiner’s table:
Rigor-mortis limbs like life-size dolls. Blood-matted fur flayed over blinding-bright
silver. Sterile crucifix, its cleansing come too late.
Antiseptic room, tile echoes, fluorescent lights. Lysol lining throat and nose. A territory
for the masked and shielded. The antithesis of dark, tangled forests and the smell of earth. Of
gritty asphalt alleys and the odour of rot. Of plush carpeted bedrooms and vanilla-scented
The antithesis of those places where women walked and wolves lurked.
On the table, rupture. The tales say, split the beast and the innocent will emerge,
unharmed. The science says, all dead bodies stink the same.
In the antiseptic room, magic shrivels to dust.
Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC. Her poetry has been nominated for a Rhysling Award and Best of the Net. Connect with her on Twitter at @SC_Parent and Instagram at @SCParent.