The silver needle is loaded with
society’s venom of vengeance,
an arrow aimed at ravaged veins
by a bureaucrat in a crisp white shirt and tie,
a political appointee, a civil servant
for this most uncivil of acts.
Does he sleep at night,
dream, or sedate himself
with alcohol and sports?
Does he talk with his children
about his job?
Are they proud or ashamed?
Does he pray and to whom?
Does he think about killing
while making love to his wife?
Nearby on a lumpy mattress
in a cheap motel with tired pillows,
a grieving mother ignores
the press pounding on her door
as she waits for her condemned son’s spirit
to be ripped from her,
releasing them both
from decades of unbearable anguish and agony.
Years of hot tears have burned
deep furrows into her brown cheeks
like dry arroyos in a vast wasteland.
She wears her constant fatigue
like a dusty, gray cape wrapped tightly
around her hurting heart.
Sadness and poverty are all she’s ever known.
He had only been a squirt of sperm
to his father,
dooming him in the womb.
His siblings turned away long ago,
weary of his endless appeals
and brief spurts of hope.
His grandmother blissfully smiles
at her memories of him as she tiptoes,
a tiny step at a time to the other side.
She knows he will be waiting for her.
Where are the “pro-lifers”,
the religious zealots, friends of fetuses
who care so little about life once born?
His birth became
a one-way ticket
to the silver needle.
At the nod from the warden
with the pale, frozen face,
the chemical switch is thrown,
and a tidal wave of poison,
the politicians’ kinder, gentler murder
ravages cell by cell as it rushes
to his battered and bashed heart
that never had a chance
to beat with the fullness
except from his Mamma.
No matter if he’s innocent as so many are.
His crime is being born poor and having
black skin in a country that hates him.
A violent and deliberate death
gallops around the arterial bend,
closer and closer to its target,
suffocating his last breath
while watchers struggle
with the impulse
Justice weeps beneath her blindfold,
her naked breasts shrouded
in a six thousand dollar drape
by men fearful of being distracted
from their imperialistic wars.
Now freed from his tortured body,
his soul hovers briefly above the fishbowl,
then rises above the demonstrators and TV crews outside,
pauses for a moment over the no-tell-motel
where his mother weeps dry tears,
until angels surround him,
gently lifting him upward ,
away from his tragically short life
to a place of final peace,
leaving us to just ask