The Whitechapel Murders occurred in London’s East End between April 1888 and February 1891. The following mourning songs are excerpted in testament from a larger and growing manuscript of séance recordings from the area.
Polly Ann Nichols Addresses Visitors to Her Body at the Morgue
When the police lay me out on the slab they find eyes pecked away by rooks, a sunflower between my teeth. The men grow dizzy staring into the dark-seeded center stemming my swollen tongue.
When the monks come to boil flesh from bone I dissolve. No relic remains. Bone after bone, white as God's memory. Ash and curled as a blackbirds' severed foot.
Rag-pickers sort my clothes. The velvet trim of my bonnet stiff with beetles. A rooks black feather and a cracked egg alive with maggots chases their fingers from my coat pockets.
Grief's song my torn throat, a tune impossible to carry.
When the angels come to take my spirit they find a dove unable to weep. They assure the delicate bird that it will get better with time.
Angels pry open her beak inflate lungs with lute and whistles. Pattern my constellation after a crow. The white bird stutters a n d stutters.
Understand this tune lives and dies on your tongue Open your mouth and let me out.
The angel told the dove: If you're willing to hurt enough you can have it.
So sing, you faithless bird. Sing.
--  Polly Ann Nichols was the first of the “canonical five” women murdered by Jack the Ripper in the Whitechapel area of East London. She was the mother of five children.
--  Elizabeth Stride aka Gufstafsdotter, the 4th victim of the Jack the Ripper, was born in Sweden. Due to complication from contracting syphilis, she gave birth to a stillborn child. She was given a pauper’s burial in East London marked with a numbered grave,15509, square 37
-- Amy Sayre Baptista’s flash fiction collection, PRIMITIVITY, won the Black River Chapbook contest by Black Lawrence Press. Her writing has appeared inThe Best Small Fictions (2017), Ninth Letter, The Butter, Alaska Quarterly Review, and other journals. Performances include the Poetry Foundation (Chicago), Brown University and Columbia University. She is a former fellow and current co-director of CantoMundo, a scholarship recipient to the Disquiet Literary Festival in Lisbon, Portugal, and performs with Kale Soup for the Soul, a Portuguese-American artist’s collective. She is a co-director of the St. Louis Writers Workshop. She has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and teaches Humanities at Western Governors University. She lives in Illinois and is currently working on a novel.