Blue Angel
for Becky Watts

Her legs and the blue
cornflower dress. As
my son lists the sins
none of them can help me
make sense of this.

She left with her laptop;
she left without extra clothes,
had no intention of running
away. Her name was Becky.

In one picture her eyes
sparkle brighter than her necklace.
My brain rejects the details
and instead demands a Manhattan
in a voice reserved for only
the most unbearable situations.

My brain screams –
What The Fuck! as I fold
the peanut butter sandwich
into wax paper to protect it.
My daughter’s lunchbox
is decorated with pink flowers
and I think of all the parents
who place flowers on graves
instead of in vases.

My brain slams its glass on the table
and barks for more cherries
this time. One drink is not enough
to erase the image of her legs
sticking up out of a barrel
like some cast off Barbie.

Our landscape is littered
with dolls, except they are not
dolls at all they are children.
We try to pick up the pieces,
but our brains have grown
numb. We try to pick up
the pieces. Mostly we fail.


"Atmospheric" © Dr. Regina Valluzzi

“Atmospheric” © Dr. Regina Valluzzi


Crystal Condakes: “I wondered why only British news sources were covering the disappearance and murder of Becky Watts (of Bristol, England) until I realized that we have enough missing, exploited, abused, and murdered kids of our own to fill the pages of American newspapers. I think Becky deserves to have her voice heard (or her voice as I imagine it), as do all the unfortunate kids we can’t seem to protect. As a poet and survivor of childhood violence, I feel I have a responsibility to speak for those who have been permanently silenced. I have previously written poems for Jeffrey Curley, Sarah Pryor, and Amy Carnevale.”

Art can illuminate even the most elusive and difficult to comprehend ideas. Visual rules and tightly codified visual metaphors help scientists communicate complex ideas mostly amongst themselves, but they can also become barriers to new ideas and insights. Dr. Regina Valluzzi’s images are abstracted and diverged from the typical rules and symbols of scientific illustration and visualization; they provide an accessible window into the world of science for both scientists and non-scientists.