Miss Lila Deeds

Janna Vought

In a black house where snow never falls,
every window broken and forgotten,
a faceless wolf hides,
camouflaged in insignificance,
dove wings protruding from its red raw mouth.
Can I offer you a ride?
Dear Miss Lila, they found you bound
down on your knees, ass high
in a downward dog position,
lamp cord a slip knot
around your neck, cell phone still
clutched in your frozen hand, semen stains
in your pink flowered underwear
tangled around your ankles,
head cracked open like an egg, butcher
knife from the kitchen drawer
buried in your back, tendered
flesh eased open with the blade
alive with flies.
Will you help me find my dog?
Miss Lila, you died
on a Midwestern July evening.
Cicadas sang your eulogy.
You headed home from downtown,
a bank trip, and grocery shopping:
loaf of bread, mottled tomatoes
and black bananas, curdled yogurt
still in the trunk of your car.
Neighbors last saw you driving down the street,  
Miss Lila, referred to as "the deceased":
ice blue eyes and smooth soft skin,
face covered in ivy scabs, sticky yellow
hands gloved in black blood, red lipstick crusted
between the folds of your last scream, decay
combed into long blonde hair.
Do you know this address?
Miss Lila, through your broken
screen door he glided across
the maple floor, oblong of moonlight,
to rest behind the front door.
He waited for hours for you to break
from the shadows. Your eyes awakened
to fear. Breath stopped, blood
drained, bones shook flesh, body aware
that it's at its end, close to death,
fight or flight incidental.
My arm's in a cast, please help.
Oh Lila, he climbed into your bed,
slid a hand inside your bra, stroked
ripe fruit cupped within, illuminated
by sodium streetlights just outside
your bedroom window. The towheaded scare-
crow next door who always helped you
carry groceries from the car, mowed your yard
for fifteen dollars and a glass of lemonade,
trimmed wilted roses and dead
peonies in the garden. You, unaware
of what grew inside of him.
Let me help you fix your tire.
Poor Lila, now he
has the power. He took your life,
squeezed your neck
while you cried and spit, black
mascara running rivulets
down your face dazed
and swollen, his skin embedded beneath
your nails, sucking last rites
through spaces between your teeth. He mastur-
bated in the shower, washed with
your jasmine soap and honey almond shampoo,
dried himself with white cotton terry
unspoiled by your blood,
drank a Bud Light, ate turkey and Swiss
on rye he made in your kitchen—
naked. He washed threads of blood
from his clothes in the laundry room,
an unexpected consequence
of his pleasure. And just as silent
as he appeared, he slid out the broken
screen door, still craving the stench
of rot coming from your mouth,
groin aching for another turn
with sweet soft Lila.
Don't scream or try to run.
Lila, where's God
now as you sleep, lifeless
under a plastic tarp,
strawberry fields no more.
The world isn't safe for a woman
alone in the middle of the day.
Long Lila, I'm your
You never saw me coming.

Janna Vought is the author of two books, Evolution of Cocoons: A Mother's Journey Through Her Daughter's Mental Illness and Asperger's and Welcome to the Dollhouse. Her stories, poems, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Rain, Party, Disaster Society, Lascaux Review, and many other journals. She received her MFA from Lindenwood University and was a 2013 AWP Intro Journals Nominee for Poetry.