Edna Oliver May in Murder on the Blackboard (1934) (Photo: John Springer Collection/Getty Images)
Edna Oliver May in Murder on the Blackboard (1934) (Photo: John Springer Collection/Getty Images)

BooksApril 15, 2022

The Friday Poem: The Foiled Axe Murder Poem, by Erik Kennedy

Edna Oliver May in Murder on the Blackboard (1934) (Photo: John Springer Collection/Getty Images)
Edna Oliver May in Murder on the Blackboard (1934) (Photo: John Springer Collection/Getty Images)

A poem from Erik Kennedy’s new collection Another Beautiful Day Indoors.

The Foiled Axe Murder Poem

I have only been threatened once with an axe.
It really clarifies your thinking.
Later. It clarifies your thinking later.
At the time, your thinking is mostly about being
split open. Opening up.

When you open up to yourself later,
in your axe-less leisure,
you think in the genre of flashbacks,
a counterfactual throwback attack flick,
the shock of what might have been.

The ridiculousness of the scene
was . . . ridiculous. A high, unstable man
promising to sort me out,
me hurrying out into the bitter, brambly night,
haring along, hopping a fence to safety.

I was panting like a treadmill with heart disease.
The only thing more ridiculous
would have been my corpse’s essences
oozing into the soil.
Un-accidental axe ooze.

It can only happen once, your axe murder,
and it’s impossible to be prepared,
to put your affairs in order,
which puts it in the same category
as other things so horrible

you’re certain they could never happen twice,
like blackmail or heartbreak
or malaria or your house burning down
or missing a Christmas Eve flight
or thinking the world’s all wrong, and being right.

 

The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again soon.

The Spinoff Review of Books is proudly brought to you by Unity Books, recently named 2020 International Book Store of the Year, London Book Fair, and Creative New Zealand. Visit Unity Books Wellington or Unity Books Auckland online stores today. 

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

Get The Spinoff
in your inbox