Today’s free creative writing is a poem based on “America’s First Serial Killer,” H. H. Holmes, aka Herman Webster Mudgett. While based on a real person and real events, my “Holmes” poems are fictional, and only provide speculation to what he might’ve actually been like.
This is a poem about a serial killer, so, you know, trigger warnings for violence, child abuse, murder, religion, etc.
Father always said,
God’s most of all.
Pastor agreed, quoting Job,
Whom I felt had it easy—
Sickened, crops killed, livestock
Scattered, never having to learn
Piety through the snap of parental
Belt across bare buttocks.
Red lines, large welts, blemished my skin,
Tears staining Sunday vest while Mother
Looked on. Cries and bruises failed to move her.
Quoting Pastor: All are granted what they deserve.
First came the boy, small and frail,
So much like myself. Easily overpowered,
He succumbed to me, his life forfeit,
Parents believing he perished on the trip home.
Barrier breached, the rest meant nothing—dozens of lives
Ended by these hands, none more significant than another.
Yet, trying to cleanse this soul, sitting in a confessional, I once told
Priest of widows wooed, tenants tortured, children chopped,
Adding, for good measure, the time I swore at a bank clerk for giving
Improper change, attempt to cheat me of not one, but three hard-earned dollars.
Rather than tell me to pray, he left his booth, walking softly away,
Slow prey prompting my hunt. Soon he lay slumped, face down,
Drowned in the baptismal font.
Gazing upon his form, I said again:
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.