published in Impossible Task, December 2021
“She clutched her doll and wandered around Salt Lake City with a man who claimed he was God.” David Kelly on Wanda Barzee (kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart.” Couple Known As Polite But Very Odd,” Chicago Tribune, March 14th, 2003.
It takes journalists, directed to the site,
three hours to hike, in sunlight, brush covered
trail, a rocky terrain, to reach the campsite
where a fourteen year old was restrained, suffered
summer months. Quick with questions — why she would
not flee the three mile descent home again.
Though they have been told when they stood
near the trees where she would be tethered when
the madman went to town, of the other pair
of evil eyes he left around to peer and
punish, enslave, starve the child they snared
in plastic, branches carved until commands
and survival are her only protocols;
they whittle life into a portable doll.