Twos and Fours

by Jeremy Byars


After Thomas Lynch

Two girls are found below the viaduct
too battered and too bruised, their clothing shucked

for reasons the two investigators will soon
forget. The two, from Nashville, are immune

to such brutality; they’ve seen sex crimes
too often, double homicides a dozen times.

For us four rural reporters, we’re too green.
four unaccustomed to the grisly scene,

too shy for postmortem rape. A horror show.
Two murdered, fair-haired girls that we all know.

For unique crimes like this, the TBI
forbids our constant hovering nearby,

to our dismay, until a motive’s found—
tomorrow’s front page news still on the ground.

Forewarned by an agent having no regard
for our commitment to the public, we’re jarred

to think the newsmaker of the last decade,
two girls found dead (too young, too sweet), sashayed

forever out of our pen and pad-filled hands.
For hours we wait until one agent grandstands

to the Tennessean press, who arrive to steal,
to scoop our story; we watch as they appeal

for photos of a grieving mother, hunger
for quotes about the girls when they were younger.

To the cordon we four are forced to coalesce
to see the girls left with the metro press—

forbidden fodder, the bodies stabbed and soiled,
four vain attempts at front-page glory spoiled.