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The Orderly Man

by Shane Murphy
 

In a bustling little town,
Among the smoking chimneys
And brick houses with cobblestone feet,
There is tucked away
The home of an orderly man,
Who would prefer
By all means
To keep everything neatly
And most assuredly
Composed.

The grass in front of his flat
As straight and groomed as it could be,
Held fast the perfectly sheared shrubberies
Occupying the shadows
Of the windowsills along his home.
The ground itself,
Is grooved as the texture
Of a calm ocean surface.
Evenly spaced of course,
Are the men, women and children,
Buried there.

The orderly man,
Well liked among his peers,
Has an obsession of sorts
With a rather improper sport.
While the town sleeps,
He goes about in shining shoes
And snaps the necks
Of those out past curfew.
A twist of two gloves
Makes them silent and limp,
And with makeup and shears
He fixes all of their mistakes.

 
 

Dozens of neat and orderly townsfolk
Dot his lawn,
Painted and trimmed skin
Hidden by soil.
With a shovel out back
In a shed by a shiny gate,
He creates a beautiful pattern
That serves to make his home
A more orderly area.
In the safety of the midnight hours,
He neatly cuts out squares of grass
So that they might be placed cleanly
Back onto the soil post-burial,
As not to leave any trace
Of disorder.

Papers litter the streets
With names of the missing,
And the man scowls
At the messy state.
No-one suspects him,
For he is too clean.
Until one warm afternoon
A boy came upon
Quite the series of cracks
Running along the grass
Of the orderly man's lawn.

To his shock he spotted
A beautiful face
Skygazing under a layer of soil.
A child he had seen
And had known
From the parchments
Collecting dirt in the streets.
He ran in horror
As the orderly man watched
From his window,
With a heavy heart.

When the authorities came
In horse drawn coaches
And ironed uniforms,
There was no criminal to arrest;
Only the disorderly form
Of a once orderly man,
A wide smile now imposed
Upon him
By the sharp contour of
His reddened and wetted
Shovel.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Creative Writing, Spring '08