national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014

Second Kill

Lilly McGee  • 
American University

Cain’s kiss; the drowned.
Family submerged.
A photo blurred by stillwater.


Three merfolk asphyxiate
on the lawn.
Shadows drape a dampened dawn.


Mother’s face drips
down like wax.
Father, son, hold streaked hands clasped.


Plait-hair, pleat-dress,
she’s out of water
watching them: former (twin) (daughter).


She likes a
chlorinated crime.
They say these are the early signs.


[Gazing at the
fresh smeared space.
Drown them and the kill’s erased.]


Her small palms, cupped,
hold (like a plum)
a spider, crawling towards her thumb.


And were she not
trapped by the frame,
she’d hold him up to make her claim.


Coo between puckered
lips and smash
his body, ’tween her fingers gnashed.


With every kill she has one rule:
wash its remains out in the pool.