Our eyes cannot see
through the polished cufflinks 
and clean underwear put on that morning;
over the same legs that walk past you
and sway in the train when it breaks;

the same arms that hold groceries 
and hand them over at the till;
the usual pleasantries made with the cashier
whose body is later found in the field.

After reading this article written by the husband of a woman who had been murdered, I have been thinking about the topic of ordinary killers. I’m not beyond imagining that we’re all capable of extremes of harm and violence. However, I wonder how it is that there are ordinary men who walk among us, who put on their clean clothes, take transport, buy groceries and – at some point in their existence – take someone else’s life.

It’s gendered manifestations of such ordinary violence that bothers me. And that in many instances the perpetrator is often known by the victim. And, indeed, by a wider community in which they both exist.

This is not a cheerful topic, and not one on which I wish to dwell – least of all write poetry. But it’s a situation in the world that’s really on my mind.

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Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness