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Van Gogh's View of the Starry Night Through the Iron-Barred Window in the Asylum-by Dr. Mel Waldman
The Lamp Filament-Poem by John C. Mannone
Like Sherlock Holmes-Poem by John C. Mannone
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Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

John C. Mannone: The Lamp Filament

92_ym_lampfilament_kjhannah.jpg
Art by KJ Hannah Greenberg 2022

The Lamp Filament

 

by John C. Mannone

 

 

At the scene by the dark countryside, summer flies hang

in the feculent heat—no skid marks—a ‘98 Ford Escort

 

left the road, tumbled down a steep embankment, and lay

inverted on limestone rocks. Officers bag the driver’s

 

body for the morgue. It seems the LA female fell asleep,

lost control. The car didn’t explode as in the movies.

 

The coroner says the time of death, which later coincides

with what witnesses said when they noticed the time

 

the victim’s car left her home. But something isn’t right.

I study her body and effects more closely, learn

 

she was Rosemary Collins—a friend I dated twenty years

ago during my college days. Rose was always careful, sensible.

 

                             ~

 

The autopsy reveals she was three months pregnant.

Toxicology shows no alcohol, no drugs

 

but her neck was broken; bruises and contusions

on her face. One might argue that it happened

 

when the car crashed causing blunt force trauma,

as well as the cervical fractures to her neck, but

 

detectives suspect foul play. Susan, the victim’s sister,

said Rose argued with Steven Holder, a guy she was with

 

who forced himself on her a few months earlier.

She, in tears, refused his wanting her to abort the baby.

 

Rose told Susan about the rape, the splitting-up,

and the promise to tell everyone what he had done.

 

Dr. Holder’s practice would be ruined as a trauma

psychologist for rape victims, now a perp himself.

 

That fear would establish motive. On the night

of the accident, she was likely followed by Holder

 

to the outskirts of town where he planned to kill her,

he had a shaky alibi but the police couldn’t place him there.

 

                             ~

 

I flash back to the accident site later in the daylight,

ponder the wreckage, search for clues remaining silent:

 

The afternoon sun glances through the trees, catches

the reflector in the taillight. I lull in the red glints,

 

remember the complex physics of a simple light bulb.

Something about those electrons in conduction bands

 

of tungsten filaments—the glow of blackbody radiation

that Newton’s physics cannot explain but that quantum

                             physics of Planck and Einstein could.

 

                             ~

 

I head to the lab juggling equations. Chemical

and metallurgical analysis of the wire confirms

 

the multicolored deposits—oxides and nitrides

of tungsten and molybdenum—are insufficient

 

to warrant resistive failure of the filament. The coil

was not breached, but deformed by impact

 

acceleration of the 3000-degree-Kelvin-hot wire.

On the contrary, a cold coil would’ve suffered

brittle fracture on impact. The brake lights

must have been burning bright at the time of impact.

 

She likely saw him coming, furious. When he slammed

into her, she broke hard to keep from going over the ledge,

 

but couldn’t stop the fall. No guardrail.

No burned rubber could be left on the gravel.

 

Moments after the car wreck, he must have bludgeoned her

with a hammer because the wreckage couldn’t

 

have killed her that way. Microscopic chips of red paint

found on the shattered plastic housing of the taillight

 

assembly were consistent with the make and model

of GM cars like Holder drives. A search warrant issued,

 

forensics confirms the paint came from his car.

He is arrested and convicted because a simple

 

light bulb filament has shed light on the dark

                                                   killer.

 

 

 

 

John C. Mannone has poems in Windhover, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, and others. Winner/Nominee of numerous contests/awards, John edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a retired physics professor living in Knoxville, Tennessee.

 

http://jcmannone.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/jcmannone/



KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words and images for an awfully long time. Check out her poetry and art book, One-Handed Pianist (Hekate Publishing, 2021).

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2022