for Leigh Mayeaux, whose body was never found

Maybe he straddles you in the soft mud,
his eyes the brown shells of beetles, 
your voice a yellow-jacket buzzing 
in the sweaty throat of his palm.

Maybe sunlight trickles onto the ground
as the sharp black wings of crows ripple 
in the curved steel of his switchblade,
or maybe he has a gun. 

In my mind the end is always the same: 
your pale body twisted in the muddy mouth 
of a bayou where rusty lures flicker like flashbulbs
and the spotted scales of bass blink

through green lashes of eel grass.
I see you drifting through a cloud of cattails, 
hair tangled with leaves, lips curled 
around your final watery word.

* originally published in Red Cedar Review