For Villisca

By Sara Anderson

In Memoriam: Josiah, Sarah, Herman, Katherine, Boyd & Paul Moore, and Lena and Ina May Stillinger, killed June 10, 1912 in Villisca, Iowa.

They don’t go to cast blessings on the place
or to set the phantasms at ease
They have no reverence for murdered children
They laugh as they roll a ball to the spirit girl
Are unimpressed when she rolls it back

They go for drive-in thrills and to say they’ve been
not to help, not to wish the dead well
nor to ask if there’s a thing they can do
some task or ritual they might perform
to free the souls to wander other planes

It saddens me, the notion of those
spectral children locked in that house forever
Only an occasional game of catch
with a stranger to pass the time
No one left to kiss them good night

 


Sara Anderson is a native Iowan. Her poetry is featured or forthcoming in Every Pigeon, The Indianapolis Review, and Twisted Vine. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University. She lives and works in Plymouth, MN.

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