The Moon and Sun shared Ecliptical Longitudes the night They murdered The child.
Beneath a stelliferous empyrean,
Like Sojourners among the quiescent Twilight, Mother and child, Ventured to meet the woman’s husband, the father of the child.
She, no more than five and ten years Old,
The child, a girl, of only months,
Lay swaddled across the Woman’s
Bosom, tucked inside a papoose.
A rustic device carefully woven
From wool and hide, in it contained a
She cooed and clucked in the frigid
The sound penetrated the
Spectral calm and was matched only
By the maternal soothing of a muted hum.
Together, they represented the
Heathen form of the wilderness,
The Tempi Madonna among the
Silver and shadow moonbeams that
Glimmered like the dust of diamonds
Across the river’s obsidian sheen.
Ahead, where the river narrows,
The silence stirred and was broken.
Hushed voices rose from the outer
The woman strained to listen.
(British Soldiers, she thought)
(Drunken and ravenous)
...slithered from their mouths like Venom. Fear bloomed in the woman’s Chest.
Her heartbeat quickened.
(Touched by the chill of terror)
Her eyes darted madly about the
(Alone no longer)
Their shadows manifested like
Smoke along the tree line.
Features blurred in the darkness.
Their gestures muted.
Like birds of
Prey, they set motionless upon their
Perch along the stony shore.
I say, a man said. Indian children are natural born swimmers,
Capable at birth of swimming great distances.
Utter foolishness, old boy, another opined.
We will need proof of this claim, my good sir, an anonymous voice Quipped from somewhere in the dark.
She let escape from her full lips
The tiniest of shrieks.
(stupid girl, her mother’s voice echoed in the dark.
You always were too impulsive.)
Rage consumed her as
She struggled against the current.
She tried to paddle for deeper
Water as the men broached
The black sheen of the river.
The moments passed by
In jagged surrealism.
There was no sound
When they pitched the woman
And child into the
The splashing of water.
Grunt of men.
The cold, pungent scent of
Fear and sweat mixed with the
The twisting of
Hands that groped about the
(Her rage now eclipsed by fear)
Her body, numb.
Her appendages quaked.
Her body fading
As they fall upon her.
Their thick bodies
Blacked out the stars.
Their gaunt faces
Pinched and rucked in the
Reflected the fury, the
The disgust for what would come next.
Their hands moved across her
Like demons as they
Groped at her small body
Beneath the choppy wash of the
(A hand grazed her thigh and she shrieked in Terror. Another
gnashed at her buttock. Another fell upon her back. Her mind
reeled at the possibilities of what would need to come next.)
They tore at her clothing.
Her body jarred about the water as
She writhed against their grasps.
She clawed against the murk.
(Escape the horror)
She released the paddle—
(Forever lost to the deep, useless to her now)
Hysterical animalistic thoughts
Trounced off their tongues as they
Laughed at her doom—
(Like a pack of hyenas)
She kicked at them in nameless
She thrusted her hand into
The fabric where the child had been
Moments before cooing and clucking.
Mere moments ago she had sang to the
Babe the same song her
Mother had once sung
(she felt nothing where the child had been…)
She struggled away from them.
Her mind frantic with pain, the cold,
For the child.
She no longer cared for
Herself, or what they would need to
Do with her body.
Flailed and churned in the dark water.
(A single gasp of air followed by
The burning inhale of water)
A shrill call to the child—
(a name lost to time)
Her voice cut through their maniacal
It echoed off the water and vanished,
In the outer gloom of the wilderness.
(like afterthoughts, lost)
She groped relentlessly among the
Water for the child.
The men, near
Frozen, lost interest and returned to
The adjacent shoreline.
It was more erotic that way.
They jeered at her,
Proud of themselves.
(The seething lust of the mindless savage, she thinks)
Their mouths salivate
As they watched
Became the current
For which she bore.
The impending death of the woman even
More satisfying than the feeling against their flesh of her cunning, wet crease that lies exposed between
Her brown legs.
They watch like wolves
Unable to reach their prey,
Desperate for fresh meat.
Despite the frigid cold,
Their cocks, hard,
With the anticipation of death.
The woman clamored among the darkness
She searched for the child.
Heavy fingers fell upon woolen fabric
(Hope bloomed in her constricted chest)
Her body finally beginning to seize
She freed the papoose
From the frozen depths and expelled
The last bit of energy she possessed
To swim to the far side of the shore,
Temporarily out of their reach.
Returned to the spectral woods.
They disappeared back down the
Black road from which they came.
She felt the blood as it began to
Return to her appendages, the pins And needles feeling erupting in them.
Her teeth clattered nearly exploding In her mouth.
(The child, near in her mind, cried)
She reached for it.
Rapid like the river
As she inhaled the burning,
The child let loose a cough and
She clutched it
tighter to her bosom.
(Deny the river its prize)
A stream of consciousness,
Steadily slipped from her lips.
(A great heathen prayer calling up some
As she relentlessly brokered
Life for a life)
The moments passed by like hours.
Great Spirit, with
His wanton lust
For despair, did not manifest that night.
The child fell silent, then still.
The tears came now.
Blurred vision and
Darkness consumed entire.
The river flowed by her electric as if
Its lights descended from a place far
Beyond the black taciturn veil of
Night to reflect the merciless
Tragedies among the wretched souls of
The Maine Woods.