Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Laci Peterson Responds

by lizard

Whenever I travel, I make a point of finding and visiting bookstores. For the last week I’ve been in Kansas City, visiting the in-laws and a few close friends. During this “vacation” I’ve managed to squeeze in some quality book time, which has resulted in the purchasing of nearly 20 poetry-related books (thanks to a used book store, the damage to my bank account is not as severe as the number indicates).

With such a major influx of titles, selecting a poem for this week’s poetry series has been rather difficult. I initially wanted to feature a poem by Michael Robbins, from his collection Alien Vs. Predator. It’s the first book of poetry that I read completely, front to back, in quite awhile. His gratuitous use of pop-culture references is, some critics may argue, too limiting, relegating the potential impact of his poems to those “in the know”, but I loved it, and for poetry nerds, I highly suggest checking him out.

From my poetic expenditure, I now own “new” books from Robert Creeley, Adrienne Rich, Sharon Olds, and Diane Wakowski, not to mention a few books from poets who, I imagine, no one has ever heard of, like James Kavanaugh and Lenore Kandel.

The poem I finally decided to select for this week’s poetry series is from an anthology of poems, titled Junkyard Ghost Revival.

The first time I read this poem, written by Sonya Renee Taylor, it gave me chills. It’s an imagined response, of sorts, from Laci Peterson, brutally murdered by her husband, Scott Peterson, who now rots on death row, where he belongs.

Considering all the (mostly useless) bloggy chatter about sexual assaults against women, it’s a timely piece that deserves some attention.



“I’ma go to college and find a nice boy and get married. A few years later, we’ll have babies. Momma says you should spend a little time alone with your husband because babies change everything.”

—9 year old girl’s answer to what she wants to be when she grows up; Phipps Mall, Atlanta, GA

Pretty little girl child,
They call it Coffin Birth.
The way the gases in my bloated womb
expelled Conner into the marina water
like a bottle uncorked
Tethered by a rotted umbilical cord
Death does not quell desire
nor does it staunch longing
Never have I wanted to cradle
To cleave to anything
As desperately as my son
Floating just beyond my grasp

The first gulp of harbor water stung less
Than Scott’s infidelities
Less than the first phone call from
The first “her” he would parade past me
His new trinkets
So many trinkets followed that by the end
I had become quite adept at the art
of swallowing the hard to swallow
By then it was a simple task
Letting the tide
fill my lungs
Constrict me out of my flesh

We were plastic perfect
A prosthetic matrimony
A stock photograph
Taken in front of the remodeled kitchen counter tops
Where he would mount other women when
I went shopping

A dutiful and consummate homemaker
A good wife
Who does not ask too many questions
So when he put me in the car
I went without a fight

Now this is my legacy
News articles chronicling the only thing
I ever did that mattered to this world
Sopping and decayed
Washed ashore without any arms
To hold my baby boy

Yes love

Babies change everything
They make you want
to impart wisdom greater than casserole recipes
And how to scramble his eggs just so
They make you want more
Than their daddies fractured affections
Dream bigger than perfect drapes
And multi karat engagement rings

Babies change careless fucks
Into double homicides
Candle light vigils
And search parties
Scouring nearby roadsides
for where he might have dumped our bodies

Child I give to you what
I no longer have
Your own precious self
Materialized into what ever audacious
Request you may make to this universe
Fantasy so outlandish
It must BE
Aspirations beyond
Any he you may love

And yes, the sweet and tender kiss
The holy presence of life in your belly
Is a wondrous gift
But sometimes our selfish imaginings
The kernel we keep for ourselves
May be the only difference
between life and death
So be careful sweet
Choose your dreams cautiously

Never forget

All I ever wanted to
Was Scott’s wife

  1. 1 Liz’s Weekly Poetry Series: Anticipating April | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Laci Peterson Responds […]

  2. 2 152 Poetry Posts to Celebrate April, National Poetry Month | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Laci Peterson Responds […]

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