The Murder Mystery Poem

The Murder Mystery Poem
Jeff Thomson

knows who did it with the candlestick
on the train of itself running the long night
through to the Orient expressly for the purpose

of discovering all that it knows already, the frayed
strands of this tenuous plot, the who-done-it-ness
of the pistol on the mantle waiting for the lights

to come down and moment to be pregnant enough—
and pregnant enough is enough of a motive isn’t it,
really?—for the shot in the dark, for the knife

that shines wickedly and winks from the flashlight
carried into every car on this damn train, running on
and on with the front visible from the back now

as it takes the bend in the mountains. But
the second class are passengers revolting
(they certainly are, says the poem, sniffing)

now against the intent of all this intrigue
that would have them killed off one by one
like so many redshirts in the Science Fiction poem.

At this point the plot should have thickened
like tar, the bubble and stench of the creosote banter
of the—where the hell is that detective anyway?

He’s shellaced in the back with the gorilla
in the cage, the whole story turned to sitcom.
They’re passing a bottle back and forth

and singing into the drawn-out night
the train tunnels through because
he has long ago given up hope

of discovering the villain who opens
the door to the tiny washroom,
and sees your face in the mirror

stroking and stroking the foam
from the delicate skin of your throat with
a straight razor’s long and elegant blade.

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