These snippets of girls, broadsheets, ballads, a one paragraph whisper in a smudged newspaper beneath an ad for a pizza, two for one. But they are singular despite their raveled tangled names. They are still awake, a litany of how young girls die. Delia is gone, 14 years old, cinched and muzzled with rope, two bullets. He was pardoned. She sleeps somewhere unknown. Her bones whisper to the unknowns. At least Delia has a song. Johnny Cash sang about her, the Man in Black. Did they bury her in black, a thrift store school dress with sweat stained underarms? They tell Delia of truck stop stores gaudy with harsh beaten light, racks of DVDs of Country’s greatest hits. A bus stop smelling of aged urine. He promised he would leave his wife, girlfriend, so many words. In a church bathroom. He had a kind face. Grainy posters stapled to telephone poles, taped to smudged windows, small store billboards cramped with fading pleas amidst ads for babysitting, massage and guitar lessons with golden stars, when they were five they won them for perfect attendance. But at least they were missed. Others confess no one saw them enough to ask. “I was this, a stripper, drab and murky club, cheerleader garters but they loved my baby fat thighs.” , “I was this.... coked and floating above what my father did to me in the bath.” “He talked to me after class so I ignored his hand that reached ever higher.” Delia is gone as is the “Knoxville Girl”. What was her name? Anyway she was murdered.
I initially wanted to write about traditional murder ballads so I started with "Delia's Gone", but like anything else I write, the writing did what it wanted. Although since I am working on a non fiction piece on murder ballads, I think I will write about them again in my fictional writing.
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