Agent Bobby Chacon of the FBI Dive Team looks into the hole
his team has cut in the ice of Matanuska Lake, outside Anchorage,
and the first thing he sees is the face of eighteeen-year-old
Samantha Koenig, her eyes wide open. Samantha had been
dismembered by her confessed killer months earlier and her body parts
dropped into the lake’s fresh cold water, and now the dive team
is bringing them up: legs, torso, head. Serial killers often target
girls and young women for good reason. They’re smaller,
less strong, less experienced, easier to coerce: should someone
call your name and says your mom’s been hurt at work
and he’s supposed to drive you to the hospital, you might believe him.
Veteran cops are said to be steely and cynical, but over the years,
dive team members have commemorated the dead in drawings
that are strikingly similar, and the walls of the team’s LA office
are covered with depictions of divers, anonymous under their helmets,
kneeling over children, even babies, their arms outstretched for help.
Someone said Van Gogh is as famous as Picasso, but whereas
Picasso was a monster of control, Van Gogh was at the mercy
of the uncontrollable, that he moved through the world
as though ordinary motion were a miracle. Art is not therapy.
But it’s not not therapy. One member of Samantha’s team drew her
as an angel cradling a dove as a diver lifted her out of the lake.
David Kirby’s collection The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2007. Kirby is the author of Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll, which the Times Literary Supplement of London called “a hymn of praise to the emancipatory power of nonsense.” His latest poetry collection is More Than This. He teaches English at Florida State University.