OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAphoto of Red Hat Execution Chamber by Lee Honeycutt

The guards laugh and chide

each other;

who gets to throw the switch?

Yes, I hear their echoed remarks

at night,

in my dreams.

 

When I’m in the hole, I sense their

thoughts through my tears,

burning in my mind.

They fear me and my friend.

 

All of us on the row know her,

intimately.

We’re brothers and sisters   walking.

 

And I see her during the day,

as much a part of me now.

Her quiet, constant vigil

in robe and sickle.

 

And God won’t forgive me.

I see his back to me.

My pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

 

The priest beside me drones on

as we walk hand in hand

like blood brothers.

I smile at his supposed

delusions of savior.

 

My altar stands before me

with straps and buckles newly

polished.

Somehow this comforts me.

 

As I await my electric connection

to hell, I recall the guard’s

chill exclamation as I

stepped from

my cell;

dead man    walking.

 

by

Rod C. Stryker

Never one to shy away from controversy, this piece was written in response to a story of a condemned prisoner. I attempted to place myself in his shoes. Although death via electrocution is in decline, it is still an alternative to lethal injection in a few US states.

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