Connie Voisine

The Office of the Examiner

All hail the boy on the bike, the teenager
who ODed against the door, the man in the 
halal slaughterhouse who fell down amongst
the living sheep, and hello to you dear body,
in the derelict row house, your bruised face 
and broken heel, hello dear body too old to do 
more than wait for relief and that neighbor who
has the keys and brings soup, and you, too,
dear human given to bleeding too easily, 
dear body who has too much pressure in her
veins and heart that cannot help enough to stay
well, and well enough that you for now still 
shout on the street corner, thin arms jerk
and flail in intermittent impulse, and hail
your mother who doesn’t know where you are
and even though you used her all up she will
cry when we tell her the news, and you
sipping at the colorful world in the gazebo 
at the park before you pull the trigger on
all that seemed too much, and you who wished
for other things and you who had come in for 
to purchase, hail death so generous, our blasphemer.


Just like Saint Julian, you met a handsome stag in the forest
who told that you would kill someone, that you might wake

to bloodied hands, mud on your shoes, unsure 
of what has been dream and what is memory.

A whole family gone—off a cliff, shot in the kitchen,
children, etc. The mother is often the one who’s

found dragging her dying self towards a phone, a knife,
a son who may be the shooter, or it was another 

troubled one. A lover caught in a bed, a neighbor stumbled 
into wreckage, attempted heroism, foster children

too, dead. S/he/they would not have done this horrible 
thing and I would like to think I would not have

become the time bomb we often discuss and ticking.
Am I certain it was not me who was volatile or

who created wrong details to protect someone, me?
Morning after pill. Laundry, bleach. I see your spill 

of blood, a shattered window and wonder how and why 
you might do some terrible thing like this. Problem is 

I can imagine doing most things fully, enough for guilt.

Connie Voisine                            

Connie Voisine is the author of the book of poems, The Bower, begun on a Fulbright Fellowship to Northern Ireland. A previous book, Rare High Meadow of Which I Might Dream, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her first book, Cathedral of the North, won the Associated Writing Program’s Award in Poetry. She has poems published in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry Magazine, Black Warrior Review, The Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. She is a 2021-2022 Guggenheim Fellow.