“After” by Vance Voyles

Vance Voyles


Kitchen tables,
rumpled Kleenex,
heavy questions loom.
Girlfriends murmur,
softly cutting,
from the other room.

The boy was purple
paisley buttons,
titanium leather band.
A fragrant fellow.
Nervous laughter.
Did things get out of hand?

Drinks were steady.
Dinner raw.
The fish.
The rice.
The soy.
He complimented.
Understood you.
This lovely, lovely boy.

You let him in.
You silly girl.
Your sisters call you ho.
They never ask.
They just accuse.
Did you tell him no?

Detective now
is softly speaking.
Do not veer off course.
Just another one
All they know
is force.

from Rattle #37, Summer 2012
Tribute to Law Enforcement Poets


Vance Voyles (Police Officer): “Six years ago, I was working a homicide where a girl was strangled and dumped by the side of a retention pond in Central Florida. As I approached her, I saw what looked like purple flowers stuck to her side. Upon closer inspections, the flowers turned out to be formations of blue-bottle flies foraging for dead skin cells. Official reports don’t allow for contemplations on scavenger insects. I have been writing creatively about moments like these for the past ten years. I was doing it to keep my own perspective. I am finally sending some of these things out in an attempt to change yours.”

Rattle Logo