8/15 poem

A Serial Killer Writes a Motivational Letter to An Activist

I’m writing this in the basement of an undisclosed apartment
in fill-in-the-blank-city, Georgia. It’s 11:17 pm. In the morning,
the envelope will be delivered to a mailbox on the other end
of town while my hands are covered in latex gloves. Before
leaving, I’ll have showered for forty minutes, removing every
traceable scent from my body.

From the outside, one may argue that when choosing
your next victim, it shouldn’t matter where they are, that you’re
still a human killing another human but that’s why that person
is a professor. Or a mail man.
That person may believe there is no difference whether you kill someone
in the North or the Southwest, that tears in the eyes are always
made of salt, that there is no subtle shift in the flavor of blood.
But you get it. You know the distinct taste of a community’s DNA.
Would you really enter Boston with the same smile as San Jose?

You may wonder why I care about you. I don’t.
But I fuckin love seals.

Hey. I’ve been watching you, and it hurts. I have seen your eyes
on the television screen, wilting under the light of the news camera.
That sign you carried was starting to sink down. You gave someone
else the megaphone. I’m writing this to tell you: I know.
There is a point where the killing loses its spark. It stops lifting
your body out of bed. All you’ve been doing is eliminating everything
and everyone that drove your parents to their graves. With every House
bill you’ve petitioned into dust, with every wrongfully convicted
soul for whom you’ve wedged open the bars, you realize you’ve
barely changed a thing. It’s like this planet doesn’t breathe unless
something’s starving to death.

I told you I’m writing you this letter in the basement of an undisclosed
apartment in Georgia. This is true except
that this apartment doesn’t have a basement and it’s not in Georgia.
What I’m saying is that I haven’t gotten so tired that
I’ve started getting sloppy. You’re screwing up. You’re forgetting crucial
volunteer phone calls. You’re misspelling protest signs, and not
in an ironic fashion.  Your email keeps getting hacked because
your password is a combination of your birthday
and your prom date’s middle name. How uncreative can you be?
You didn’t wipe away your tears before they cuffed your wrists.
You dropped your sunglasses before they sprayed
your eyes.

You’re fading. You’re betraying your scent to the
wolves. When you make them this hungry, friend, what did you
think they would do?

I’m writing you this letter about two blocks from your parents’
house. Stop hogging your mom’s lasagna.

My point is, keep them guessing. My point is, don’t let yourself give up.
I’m watching you, killer.
This hunger is all we’ve got.


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