Forensic Fennel, Terry Trowbridge [2023:41]

Telltale scent of licorice at the scene
informs the Inspector this was not the work of dill
even though first responders reported the same
curling serrate foliage on thick stems
and the victim was splashed with dill pickle juice
that Dutch treat, also begging for salt, but
nowhere near the cucumber suspects with their naïve baby spikes
that puncture with youthful resistance

the Inspector knows what comes next:
he will find the fennel after dinner, among seeds
offered innocently in the take-out restaurant’s dish
and also in the pocket of the victim who also
will have the flowers in a vase on his table
the florets on stems that emit more stems
one Mandelbrot more than dill blossoms

this is not the work of dill although the paprika
the boiled potatoes the pirogi would all make sense
fennel is always by intrigue and the old switcheroo
listen to everybody talk about fennel
they always forget fennel’s taste or confuse it with etcetera
the Inspector does not look up but the rookie takes notes
let the pickle punk go he says
that’s not the green mo-hawk we are looking for
the rookie asks a rookie question
the answer, replies the Inspector, is not at the bottom of a jar
but on a platter of fish, maybe a yacht
moored at harbor front’s noir licorice

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