catalog of bodies
Bodies wedged together, elegantly
piled up and floating on scarlet puddle.
Corpses dismembered and decapitated lie
among a dozen other carcasses. Chests were cut
open; rib cages, thrashed. Hearts were always missing.
The putrid stench is the only sign of lives
that once were. I planned to make this more organized,
turn this slaughterhouse into a morgue,
but cleansing is hardly a priority when
fresh corpses come in every other day.
I remember watching my mother weep, begging me
to bring back the daughter she once had.
I went back to the room and check my catalog
of bodies, shuffling through faces frayed and deformed.
Perhaps the girl she looks for is nothing
but frail bones now—I know that she was
the first body to be locked inside this room.
Yet I keep looking, searching for a face among these faces
that all look one and the same. What shame it is that after all
these crimes, I still see myself in their lifeless bodies.
By Elizabeth Ruth Deyro
Elizabeth Ruth Deyro is a writer, poet, and editor from Laguna, Philippines. She is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of The Brown Orient and the Prose Editor of Rag Queen Periodical. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Hypertrophic Literary, The Poetry Annals, Jellyfish Review, and L’Ephemere Review, among other places, and has been profiled in Luna Luna Magazine and TERSE. Journal.