to Diane

Mary Kelly to the Yard and Jack the Ripper 9 November 1888 London

You will not discover in my dying body’s kidneys’ yield, who.
All your theory of that and the other is false. Nor is any
woman simple. We encompass men before they’re birthed
and surround them in their manhood and weave
their graveclothes, mourning the rot of what we created

All men of women born are,
and all women, all mankind. When you locked
the door as I turned my back to raise the gas
in a room my body buys, or bought, and my
not half-bad face, I knew you were one, Jack, a man
who understands in that special way we know ourselves.
We are your betters. Bleeding is
our life’s chore. Storing the blood cells
for timely release is a mystery
we wrap our legs around and hold
as we lock men’s heads
in that worshiping position (yes death is birth)
as I held yours once, Jack,
before you were born perhaps,
before I named you my son (as I do now)
and out of my Curse came
your head and those blood-filled hands
and the scream of us all, all, all.


Emma Smith to Jack the Ripper 3 April 1888 London

What I couldn’t figure was why
his face changed as he struck
me with his big knife like a club. He was a copper,
then some sort of fop who stuck me and said,
“Pig. You delight me, Pig!” As though I haven’t heard