Aaron McIntosh, Forest Frolic, 2012, 
(detail) courtesy of the artist, from "Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters" at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, January 25–May 3, 2015.

Aaron McIntosh, Forest Frolic, 2012,
(detail) courtesy of the artist, from "Man-Made: Contemporary Male Quilters" at the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, January 25–May 3, 2015.

The Message

for Winfield Mowder and Gary Matson

The third voice gave it away,
the “just calm down” and make it believable voice,
captured on the outgoing message.
An unnecessary four-hour drive to San Francisco
to see a doctor; death was already in the room.

Winfield and Gary lived the rural life,
a home in Happy Valley, together
created a legacy of nature and science.

They sold produce at the farmer’s market,
met two brothers in the next booth.  
Siblings who shared a copy of The White Man’s Bible,
burned synagogues, carried rifles in the trunk.

Gary’s brother did not believe the message.
Drove to his brother and brother-in-law’s house,
to find the couple naked in their platform bed,
blood on the walls, .22 caliber shots to their heads,
something the police would later call an “overkill.”
The supremacist brothers stood on chairs
at the foot of the bed with rifles in hand,
lording power and death.

The brothers had written it down:
these murders were prelude to more.
The fake message, the couple’s final words,
crackling and unconvincing,
buying time while the killers reloaded
new guns on Gary’s stolen credit card.

Maybe Winfield and Gary made love
in their bed before the brothers broke in.
Maybe they shared a goodnight kiss
before they heard the first shots into the A frame house.
Maybe they were wearing wedding bands that night,
when they were forced to say, into their own answering machine,
“We’ve, we’ve come down with something pretty bad.”