The Imperfect Crime




I feel my life is like a novel: at least,

Inasmuch as it is the imperfect crime.

Right at the denouement, how the killer

In every Agatha Christie must feel such

An arse. Having studiously changed

The clock in the drawing room to half past ten,

Hidden the arsenic and the revolver

Behind the rhododendrons, wiped

The fingermarks of his crime from the fire iron,

Only now, to become unstuck:

Before he gets the girl, or claims the vast

Insurance policy, or flees to Rome;

Before he gets to say, “I killed the bastard,

And I’d do it again!” and leap with jubilation

Onto the terrace and over the links, to freedom,

For some tedious do-gooder to lean in,

Sanctimonious, and in one gesture

Read from the lipstick on his collar everything

To damn him to the gallows: that is how

Being marked by you condemns me, dear.


2 thoughts on “The Imperfect Crime

  1. Tout ca change even with Agatha. I was wondering last evening of the parallels between detective fiction and other sorts of problem solving. I was wanting to ask who thought they could be a regular smart detective and if we are all detectives anyway. Like most of your poems I would like to put ‘Discuss’ at the end.

    Sent from my iPad


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