An Autopsy of an Era

by Mary Jo Bang

That's how it was then, a knife
through cartilage, a body broken. Animal
and animal as mineral ash. A window smashed.
The collective howl as a general alarm
followed by quiet.

Boot-black night,
halogen hum. Tape snaking through
a stealth machine. Later, shattered glass
and a checkpoint charm—the clasp
of a tourist-trap bracelet. An arm. A trinket.

Snap goes the clamshell. The film
in the braincase preserving the sense
of the drench, the angle of the leash,
the connecting collar. A tracking long-shot.
The descent of small-town darkness.

The Last Two Seconds

Last updated December 24, 2022