double jeopardy

I don’t know what it is about the film Double Jeopardy
but like a detective haunted by an unsatisfactory case
I keep coming back to it

maybe it’s that police launch, throttling-in from the fog
while Ashley sobs on the deck of the yacht, holding a knife;

or when the prosecutor, waving her hand at the jurors, says:
‘Did aliens murder your husband? No.
Aliens weren’t beneficiaries in your husband’s life insurance.’

Or the prison montage. Weight pumps, abdo scrunches, jogging
round the yard in the rain
‘I got to hand it to you, honey. It’s just sheer hate driving you on.’

or when Ashley escapes on the ferry,
smashing Tommy’s car up
to break the cuffs
he’s cuffed her to the door with,
driving it off the ramp into the sea
when Tommy hurries down the steps to stop her
hands on both rails,
maintaining his expression.
and I love the way the car sinks,
tyres first, falling in slo-mo through the clear water,
And when they both break surface,
even though Ashley cronks Tommy good
on the side of the head with a .38,
you can tell
she doesn’t want to.

Maybe the film wouldn’t have such a hold if it didn’t have
Bruce Greenwood holding a cigar to his mouth at a bachelor auction;
an art dealer in a bow tie saying Kandinsky;
a corpse in a coffin like William Burroughs
smacked-out at a book reading,
and a sad bartender passing Ashley a red umbrella
across the counter as the cops come in,
‘Take this’ he says. ‘Get outta here.’

but there’s something else
something in the way she smiles
as clear to me and cold
as the water the car falls through,doublejeopardy
as sensible as the hat
her mother wears
trowelling around in that dusty garden
passing her a tin
of dollar bills
she’s buried
under the tomatoes
for some reason

 

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