Electrocutions show our love of rite:
We give the favored one a kingly feast,
As well as pen and ink so he can write
The thoughts that we will prize when he’s deceased.
 
We see his needs are carefully addressed:
Fine soaps and lotions for his last toilette,
His denim vestments washed and neatly pressed —
A towel to wipe away the beads of sweat.
 
His chaplain comes and reads a psalm to show
The kingdom he’ll inherit when he’s dead;
And then a courtly barber comes, bows low
To shave his shaking shins and then his head.
 
A silent entourage supports him down
The hall, and then secures him to the throne;
Upon his head we place a cabled crown,
So heavy his attendants hear him groan.
 
And then while we are careful to maintain
Our poise —to spite the lands where we’re despised —
We send him to that unexplored domain.
How dare they say that we’re uncivilized!

(1985)

This poem is dated now because most states have chosen other means of executing convicts

satire

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