The Detective’s Chair Two Prose Poems by Anne M. Carson

The Detective’s Chair (4)

Salvo Montalbano doesn’t think like other men; his mind is lithe, elastic. He sees odour as colour—brownish yellow streaked with fiery red assails him in the sick woman’s room. A manly swoon stops him in his tracks when intuition kicks in. Metaphor is real and lived. Synchronicities appear with the force of revelation. A spider-web takes him back to Ovid’s Arachne, letting him crack open the investigation of the kidnapped girl. His chair is on the balcony, by the Mediterranean where he swims to rid himself of grime. He sits at a cloth-covered table with Sicilian fare—fresh bread with giuggiulena, pasta and Trapanese pesto. Food, like deep, case-solving thougTht, is best savoured alone; life-affirming triumph after dirty politics, daily doses of the worst that humans do. When he wants company there’s Livia and the joy of making love after they have whetted their appetites by squabbling again.

The Detective’s Chair (5)

Comrade Doctor Siri Paiboun is loyal, principled—reluctant, sole Coroner of the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic. His morgue has few chemicals, rudimentary gear. Autopsy skills acquired on the job from an old charred French textbook propped on a music stand while he cut and sawed. His mind has four dimensions instead of the conventional three. The fourth opens to the spirit world; ghosts of the murdered dead visit him in dreams to give cryptic, telling clues. His chair is a log on the Mekhong’s banks, shared with Politburo buddy Civilai. They share lunch- time baguettes, thermoses of tepid tea, joke exuberantly about corpses, guffaw at the Party’s expense. Crime is political and Civilai is Siri’s source of Government gossip, his sounding board. Occasionally they get fall-down drunk on cheap Vodka the Russian’s use as bribes.

Anne M. Carson is an awarded and widely published Australian author. Her poetry collection, Removing the Kimono, was published in 2013. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the Ron Pretty Poetry Prize. She is a Creative Writing Therapist and poetry teacher, now looking for a publisher for Massaging Himmler: A poetic biography of Dr Felix Kersten.