He sits before her like before the judge. He is an orange jumpsuit. He thinks maybe she thinks: he’s just a man, not the father I knew. She knew what evil was before she knew it was him. Like a real dad, he wants to tell her all – a day in 1952, as if it began there, he still a boy helping her granddad carry the new television into the house to broadcast all things, both good and evil. He admits there were victims (pretty like her) who played pianos, owned dogs, and wrote in diaries. He can’t explain this, except to say: as a boy, he too once did all that. Each case presented a puzzle like a crossword at breakfast. She sees that in him. He wants her to know he is sorry his way. For a minute, she wants to wrap up a pretty daddy she knew with scotch tape and bright paper in her arms like Christmas, but this man reminds her of all the human in evil.
Paul Dickey won the Master Poet award from the Nebraska Arts Council. Paul Dickey’s first full length poetry manuscript They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January, 2011. His poetry and flash have appeared in over 200 online and print publications. A second book, Wires Over the Homeplace was published by Pinyon Publishing in October, 2013.