2015-06-12

Detective Inspector Norcroft closes the file

A neat whisky, later this evening
A relatively recent one here, as recent as this time last year, give or take...

I have garnered the odd criticism for cliché in this one, but that is a little bit the idea.  Take the cliché from a genre and push it that little bit further.

Here I'm just trying to capture an emotion and because it's an overwhelming emotion in an over-the-top situation...  well I'm driving it home with a mallet.

One poet who read this commented that it was 'cathartic' and I think that's exactly how it should read.





Detective Inspector Norcroft closes the file


Forty years stewing, his water grown cold...
Not at his first autopsy, that was Alice
whose blood—so long cremated—pooled
on her left to make an asymmetry not present
in the photo from the white-faced sideboard drawer.
He'd been a constable so young that grinning
Dr Morris pointed out the pail
placed handily on the floor. There's other corpses


poised behind the airing cupboard door.
They are patient. Where is the Lifebuoy soap?
Where is the Famous Grouse? Water still cold.
It was not at his first child-murder either.
First he went home with a new bike for Katie,
then worked around the clock for seven weeks
while Helen knew that something must be wrong.
They never spoke of it. She's gone now,


Helen, eight years and that's another corpse,
if one without the black and yellow tape;
and Katie is in Alice Springs: alive,
but in another world. The Johnsons are
another pair of dead caught on his mind.
He found their neat small-calibre hit,
their camper van and dog but never found
the first hint why they died. What can you do?


He gives in and runs some more hot water.
He gives in and pours himself more scotch.
He'd go for ice, but not when naked, wet
and with the heating off since half-past ten.
He finally gives in and thinks of Amy
who disappeared in nineteen ninety-three
in twenty yards between her father's car
and the door of the church hall. She was an angel


by every witnesses account. Her picture,
in every paper and on TV, glowed
with vitality. She was aimed at Oxbridge
according to her school. Athletics cups
in two or three events were ranged on shelves
within her room. He dissected her too soon;
took her life apart. She was only missing
and God knew, nobody admitted dead,


until she was, in a copse. Not then, facing
the parents and the press. Not later,
when the chief told him he'd gone a little strange.
Not even this morning, ten years post-retirement,
when he dropped nine crates of witness-statements,
photographs and tapes at the station desk—
time now for Babs Patel to worry
at all the unclosed dead. They are the coldest


cases. It is now, his drink forgotten.
It is now, as bath steam clouds the mirror.
It is now, on the evening that would be
DS Dickson's boozy leaving bash,
if he hadn't had a massive stroke
while rowing last week. It is only now,
his black suit back on its hanger, that Joe Norcroft,
Detective Inspector (retired), weeps for the dead.

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