Jude Goodwin, Canadian Poet

Jude Goodwin

She uses the personal to translate the universal.

The Murderers

It was my father
who cut up her credit cards,
stuffed them into the black plastic
sacks along with her lipstick
and Regal handbag,
hefted it all out into the carport
bins. On Sunday
I emptied her dresser drawers.
We were both guilty, startled
by small sounds. One night
I dreamt she returned,
raging through the house.
"What have you done!?" What
had we done? There was no going back now.
No reaching into the city dump to yank
out the trash. Her things
were turning and kneading
at the bottom of great vats,
rain soaked and loud with machinery.
We had stood at the edge,
watched the loaf of her
split, take in the rust
and waste, roll like a seal in the bay -
our muddy hands were cold
for months.


For a sentimental poem, "The Murderers" is refreshingly simple and plainspoken. The catalog of detritus of one woman's life is richly interwoven with the speaker's guilt-ridden story of gradually getting over her death. The alternating metaphors of breadmaking and gravedigging make for a richly suggestive and unusual elegy. Aaron Welborn, July 2005

IBPC New Poetry Voices
Third Place, July 2005

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