Parenthetical Killers

1.
There are hands attached to bodies attached to minds
spread throughout this room, gathered and pressed
together with other tangles of hands, bodies & minds.

********(Kitty Genovese was stabbed until she sputtered to death
********while thirty-eight people watched. I have never felt so alone.)

There is music, somewhat loud, somewhat catchy.
A pleasant looking boy with a wide, generous smile
is urging his way over to me.

********(The Boston Strangler was described as “nice and polite” by his teacher.
********He was the only student who would stay after class to help re-arrange the chairs.)

The boy slowly wandered over and lingered near me.
His hesitance was sort of endearing.
He was awkward in a way that seemed sweet.

********(Ted Bundy typically approached women in public places.
********They considered him to be handsome, charming, and charismatic.)

We danced together.
Talked about school.
He told me a joke, and I laughed.

********(Gary Ridgeway would show the women he picked up a picture of his son
********to gain their trust before he killed them.)

I had to leave.
“You can’t leave without giving me your number,”
he told me.

 *******(Patrick Kearney would pick up his victims at gay bars.)

I smiled during the ride home,
even after my friend vomited
all over the side of my car.

********(I cannot let the facts I’ve collected during late night google searches string along behind me. I
********cannot let fear of rape & murder dictate my life, there is no real method of prevention.)

2.
I feel safe:

********(I cannot let the facts I’ve collected during late night google searches string along behind me. I
********cannot let fear of rape & murder dictate my life, there is no real method of prevention.)

I asked him out to dinner. I chose the place.
It was filled with stacks of greasy limbs tied together to make people.
It was filled with light, and covered with windows.

********(Kitty Genovese was stabbed until she sputtered to death
********while thirty-eight people watched. I have never felt so alone.)

He told me I looked pretty.

********(Ted Bundy typically approached women in public places.
********They considered him to be handsome, charming, and quite charismatic.)

After dinner, I didn’t let him ask me over to his place.
Instead I invited myself over.

********(Patrick Kearney would pick up his victims at gay bars.)

At his apartment, he offered me water.
I accepted, thanked him, drank it, put the cup in the empty sink.
My cup was planted in the middle of it, the lonely marking on a silver surface.

********(The Boston Strangler was described as “nice and polite” by his teacher.
********He was the only student who would stay after class to help re-arrange the chairs.)

We went online
He showed me his band’s music
He turned on a movie. It was High Fidelity.

********(Gary Ridgeway would show the women he picked up a picture of his son
********to gain their trust before he killed them.)

3.
I have direct influence over my decisions.
Events, people,
nothing sways my choices.

********(Gary Ridgeway would show the women he picked up a picture of his son
********to gain their trust before he killed them.)

I made the first move.
I always make the first move, just like I always pay for dinner.
I don’t like to be romanced or charmed by hands embedded with possible violence, laced with control.

********(Ted Bundy typically approached women in public places.
********They considered him to be handsome, charming, and quite charismatic.)

His roommates were in the living room,
about seven or eight feet away from the bedroom where we were.
This was reassuring.

********(Kitty Genovese was stabbed until she sputtered to death
********while thirty-eight people watched. I have never felt so alone.)

I asked him to keep the light on,
so that I could see him.
He was flattered.

 ********(Patrick Kearney would pick up his victims at gay bars.)

I told him I like to be on top. This is a trick of mine:
I make a request or ask the boy to stop something he is doing – use less tongue or don’t use two fingers.
I know I can trust the boy when he stops & complies.

********(I cannot let the facts I’ve collected during late night google searches string along behind me. I
********cannot let fear of rape & murder dictate my life, there is no real method of prevention.)

“Sure,”
he told me,
“I don’t mind.”

********(The Boston Strangler was described as “nice and polite” by his teacher.
********He was the only student who would stay after class to help re-arrange the chairs.)

4.
********(Kitty Genovese was stabbed until she sputtered to death
********while thirty-eight people watched. I have never felt so alone.)

*

Tova Benjamin is a poet and student located in Chicago, IL. She is the co-founder and director of Napkin Poetry, a bi-monthly open mic and reading series. Her poetry has been featured on WBEZ and has or will be included in Rookie, Poetry Magazine and Puerto del Sol.

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