By one thirty in the afternoon
Linda Darnell had given herself
to the strange man with a cheap suit
And his flashbacks to a murdered waitress
had swum away on the whiskey river
What to do next, should she flee
back to Santa Rosa where everyone knows her
or should she stay, help him
clear himself from the murder rap
She could marry him,
she could be next—God helps the loyal,
those who stand by, who take
the brow-beating by the gruff detective
And Darnell was no stoolie
even after the safe deposit box
had been emptied, nothing left except
a blank piece of note paper
with a thank you crudely printed
in a gawkish shade of lipstick—
Outside Pop's joint, the smell of java
wafts down the back-lot avenue
as Darnell, wearing only a raincoat,
walks into the mist, smiling, alone
There is one small burst of laughter
A particular type of film: even in full daylight
on the beach at Barnstable, they made the bones
look like ghastly black spokes. And everybody
wears overcoats, hats and thick eyebrows.
Even, the coffee at Marie's lunceonette
seemed suspicious. Margie's hips moved
invitingly; it took the cops a while to figure
her out. The nervous glance, the quick turn
of the head when the phone rang in the wooden
booth. They already know she's involved.
Unlike some we know, the lead detective
is young, abrupt and polite. Less-than dogged
pursuit is in order. After all, the young white
female victim was a prostitute. There are eighty-six
names in the proverbial little black book.
From doctors to doormen, she met society's
expectations. We must not think ill of the dead.
The guy that killed her was too obvious.
Halfway through the flick, we know
he's going to get what she did not deserve.
Dyson is a retired HR professional, living in southeast
Pennsylvania with his beautiful spouse. Many poems
published in a variety of publications. Favorite poets are
Elizabeth Bishop and Hayden Carruth.