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Midsummer Murders

by Frances J. Pearce

In the afternoons
I came home to the cool
and watched murder on DVD,
the violence in imaginary
English villages
a pleasant diversion
from the war I fought.
For well over a month
each day during the week
I drove the back way
to the yellow brick
building on Calhoun Street,
braved flash floods,
replaced my luxury car
with a small white economy -
it then brutalized
by a jaguar after a scant two weeks.
My skin burned
as if I'd been too long in the sun,
though I'd stayed indoors except
for those drives downtown,
where in a room with a fake
I participated in the killing
of healthy cells
that had the misfortune
to have lived near those
that two months earlier
attempted to murder me.

Poet and fiction writer Frances J. Pearce lives in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. She is currently working on a novel set partially in Scotland's Western Highlands. An excerpt from the novel was shortlisted for the Faulkner-Wisdom Novel-in-Progress Prize in 2010. The poem "Midsummer Murders" was inspired by Frances Pearce's own experience of daily drives to the hospital for radiation therapy sessions after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. The poem's title is a play on "Midsomer Murders," a British television mystery series.