Mardi Link’s book inspires a poem

by Heather Newman on January 7, 2010

When Evil Came to Good Hart Mardi Link’s book on the murders of the Robison family, When Evil Came to Good Hart, inspired poet Fleda Brown to write a poem about the events.

“Friend and accomplished poet Fleda Brown experienced many of the same emotions we all did, and still do, when confronted with the unfathomable murders of the Robison family,” Link wrote in her blog. “I wrote a book, she wrote a poem. Twenty-two lines of true crime tragedy, in verse.”

Here, with Brown’s permission, is the poem. Read more about the poet at her Web site. Link’s newest book, Isadore’s Secret, details the murder mystery surrounding the death of a missing Northern Michigan nun. It’s available now.

Reading About the Unsolved Murder at Good Hart, Michigan, 1968

You get the vertigo of gruesomeness,
door still opening, mother, father, four children,

sprawled, unfound a month in the heat. Wall
of flies, bodies melted down to elements. Elemental

odor, as if one has tasted flesh oneself.
You wonder how there can be anything after that

but the willful separation into opposites—nice
cabin in the wildflower woods and the unspeakable

other. How did it get like this, passionate energies
locked up until they stank? For that matter, how do

all those women put on burkas and sit in the sun
by the hotel pool, dangling their feet and laughing?

The edges of their costumes are blowing in the breeze,
an initial disturbance. Let the door open, let the beholder

look closely at the result, and weep, let the tears leave
nothing for the flies, let the flies escape by their devious

paths, small black calamities. Like an artificial night
in there, it was. With the ladies across the way

playing cards, smelling the smell, their disgusted queries:
“Raccoon?” And the woods going on with their

greening: spring beauties and Dutchman’s breeches
so tiny we could miss them, right under our noses.

First published by

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