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Friday, October 22, 2010


by David Chorlton

The subject line reads: Man to be executed in AZ next Tuesday,
you can help stop it.
It’s Wednesday.
Six days to go
and thirteen
until the gubernatorial election.
Please take a moment to call
the governor’s office.

I begin counting down and dial the number.
Six days is a short time to wait
for the famous last meal
after twenty years have passed since the trial.
I don’t know who was guilty
or whether the DNA
is proof of innocence, but nobody
comes back from the dead
to tell us they were framed. On Sunday
there will be prayers
going wherever they go and returning
with good news or bad. The governor
will pray for her election;
somebody will pray
for a soul that is to be released
while the body must accept its sentence.
The telephone rings, and a recording says
If you’re calling about immigration
press one, for other concerns press two.

While I wait a few seconds, I wonder
what waiting really means
when it's Monday
with one day to live. Somebody answers;
she sounds to be chewing gum. I say
what I called to say,
and she replies with all the time in the world,
You hadda email, huh?

David Chorlton has lived in Arizona for more than thirty years and loves the landscape, but laments that the state legislature has more thorns than the cactus.