Sandra’s Constellation

Sandra’s Constellation
and the Black Hole in Conroe

She was baking cookies when
there was a knock at the door.
She opened the door to a blast
and went down, got up
but the second slug
laid her down for good.

Life ran out from
deflated lungs and
two ruby fonts, seeped
away in deep red streams:
the caring, the cookies, the little
hospitable and accommodating
things she did for her son,
her patients, her killers.

Small ordinary kindnesses
she offered to everyone, and
those mundane duties she
might’ve anticipated with a humble
gladness in her mind’s static
behind the lists and ideas
and phone calls, and errands
she ran in her red Camaro.

It happened so fast.

Her death—discarded in a lake.
But her dying, here it was
pooled on the floor and sprayed
on the wall, constellations
of crimson flecks everywhere.
The lights left on for days.
A television flashed and chattered.
Two and a half rows
of cookie dough mounds
mummified on the kitchen counter.

Cindy St. Onge





Filmmaker & Poet Bio:
Cindy St. Onge is a multi-media poet whose video poems have been screened in video festivals in the US and Europe, and have been showcased at
Her poems have appeared recently in Timberline Review, Dappled Things, Right Hand Pointing, Gravel, Apeiron Review and other print and online journals.

Sandra’s Constellation and the Black Hole in Conroe Synopsis and Process Notes:
Sandra’s Constellation…” is anchored by the poem I wrote after seeing Werner Herzog’s documentary, “Into the Abyss,” specifically, it’s my reaction to the crime scene footage. The poem is my attempt to process the artifacts of Sandra Stotler’s last moments before she was shot twice by Michael Perry, in juxtaposition to the gruesome aftermath of her murder (October, 2001).

The last stanza of the poem essentially describes the beginning of the crime scene tape, captured by Conroe law enforcement, as they walk into her home days after she’d been murdered, and her body discarded in a nearby lake.

For the purpose of the film, and only for the film, I’ve changed the poetic text from “knock at the door” to “…doorbell rang.” The original “knock” is the official and correct text, as it’s part of the record of the Stotler case. I wanted a doorbell sound, because an audio of knocking is ambiguous, and might be mistaken for any number of noises. I wanted the doorbell, in it’s ironically sing-songy voice, to signal to the viewer/listener that this was the moment when Sandra was beckoned to her doom. I had originally planned to keep the word ‘knock’, but decided the incongruency may be distracting to the viewer, and opted to change the word for the video treatment.

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