Missing Person

Obviously she was an innocent: Flowers fell from her lips
and her eyes were guileless pools as she stood in the front room
of our community safe house. Still I questioned the strange tale
of imprisonment in that dilapidated, old monstrosity set off by itself
where the smell of ozone and formaldehyde perpetually seeped.

Our clients often lie; whom was she protecting? All she wanted, she said
was a bit of seltzer to ease her aching stomach.  (No surprise—the
flower thing and all.) “Bismuth would be better—more soothing,” I said.
Bringing her the bottle and spoon, I noticed the finely stitched scars on her face
and arms.  When I asked her name, she wasn’t sure she had one.

Post traumatic amnesia, I thought.
Yes, I had every reason to believe that she was in grave danger.
She had the tension and posture of one who’d been seriously abused. 
That’s when I told her about our special victim protection program.

Yes, your honor, that is the gown she was wearing.  No, your honor,
I can’t tell you her precise whereabouts. The shelter stands by its H.R 972
programs and policies. The ship launched yesterday for Zeta Reticuli.

That Frankenstein person won’t ever be able to hurt her now.

—Sandra Lindow, Menomonie, WI