SOUL IN A MATCHBOX
by Kimy Martinez
Soul In A Matchbox is a book length work of poetry that utilizes nonfictional sources as well as original poems and stories to tell the narrative of a teen girl’s death. I have used an assortment of primary sources that include official police reports to an image from video footage. The book begins with poetry snippets focused on the evidence recorded the night the teen died. The book then expands the perspective of the teen’s death through incorporating interviews with the girl’s family and friends. Through this book, the reader is exposed to contemporary social issues such as access to guns, addiction, and child pornography. These issues are threaded into the six-sections structure of the book. The last section provides more insight into a shocking incident, which occurred after the girl’s death. Her grave marker was stolen. The act of stealing a grave marker is like the act of erasing her existence. The book ends with my own action to replace her grave marker. I wrote Soul In A Matchbox to remember this teenage girl’s life.
The title Soul In A Matchbox comes from a story my mother told me when I was a child. She was one of those superstitious people and a storyteller, the best kind of storytellers. She would say, “Kimy, we come from witches, but y’know, the good kind. We have kept souls in matchboxes.” The idea is that if someone was “evil,” when they died you kept their soul in a matchbox, I guess purgatory in a matchbox was more like hell than Hell was. Also, a soul was kept in a matchbox if the person died wrongfully. The only way to set the soul free was to open the matchbox which allowed the soul out, then lighting the match to show the soul its way. For the wrongfully dead, this meant they were out to seek revenge. In other words, as I understand it, creating a flame means seeking and fighting for justice. It means shedding the light on the evidence found and bringing out the truth. Soul In A Matchbox is the grave marker I have made for my childhood friend and for all those that are seeking justice.