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,


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


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.



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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