Explore O:JA&L’s Buttonhook Press offerings on Amazon.

Support O:JA&L’s free presses.

Subscribe to the O:JA&L YouTube channel.
Become an O:JA&L Member through Patreon.
Follow O:JA&L on Facebook.

Lynn Bey

We Who Would be Murderers

Jeunes filles a la mouette by Pierre Bonnard

Then one day you are that woman who wants to kill a man. Not a random man, but a man whose holding forth included the rare invitation that you do the same. By now you understand the man listened because he was searching for where are your paper-thin places, your warrens of shame. By now you recoil at the way you sidelined those others who’d bled against his jagged edges, at your assurance that you were hardy, could always stitch and neatly bandage where you weren’t.

Already you blanche. Let’s hurry, then, past the seizing of your lungs when those you know sided with neutrality, when news arrived of how splendidly the man now lives. Hurry too past your shiny fantasies of his remorse because those slants of sparkle are the angling of a blade.

Come here instead and stare these things down:

  • that rage is not you
  • that rage belongs to cowards, understanding to the righteous
  • that it is nobler to forgive

But know that the tongue that chose to be forked is not worth your pardon. That in prying loose the man’s distorted recollections to then replace them with your own, the ones he thought he’d pulped, is anything but cowardly. That to beat back today’s and tomorrow’s and the next day’s flares of protest is to live as a husk.

Come join me on this path of rage. Roar how sharp is your pain, how you are burdened by brunt. For your loneliness I am sorry. Sorry too that it is unknown when those boulders of distrust and shame and doubt will roll off you, only that they will. One day you will find yourself reconstituted—nothing less is possible—and here where you belong, among us, we who were remade by all that we saw and heard and came to know, horrors both particular and templated. We will not ask that you tell of those things that altered you, that still do, because we know already.

When we talk, you and I, we will tell each other not a single untrue thing about how it is we did not break. When I tell you it was a monster I thought to kill, you will say it is the same for you. All of us will marvel that we are murderers who didn’t, who haven’t, not yet.

About the writer:
Lynn Bey has had short stories and flash fiction published in Club Plum, The Literarian (nominated for a Pushcart award), Nixes Mate Review, New World Writing, The Binnacle (nominated for a Pushcart award, joint winner of the Eleventh Annual Ultra-Short Competition), Digital Americana, Scribble Magazine, The Brooklyner, Birmingham Arts Journal, and other magazines.

Image: Jeunes filles a la mouette by Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947). Oil on canvas. 10.2 x 18.1 inches. 1919. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprints Buttonhook Press, HOT BUTTON PRESS Contemporary Issues, and HIGH BUTTON PRESS Contemporary Art, supports writers and artists worldwide.

Follow O:JA&L on Facebook.

OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) recommends the services of Duotrope.

 Duotrope®