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Thursday, June 19, 2014


by David Chorlton

(CNN) -- A double murderer was executed in Florida Wednesday night, becoming the third man put to death in an American prison during a 24-hour period. All three died by lethal injection.

A gurney stands still on its wheels
beneath a square of light intense enough
to reveal a human soul.
The floor is polished so clean
it floats from wall
to unblemished wall.
There’s a pillow,
freshly cleaned, and straps
no grief could ever break
to contain the spasms
when the clock shows time
coming to an end.
A neatly-typed protocol
describes every step
from cooking the final meal
to escorting witnesses away,
but has nothing to say for an instance
of the cocktail’s failure,
as if it had been written for a firing squad
and could not describe a dead man
spitting bullets out.

David Chorlton came to Arizona in 1978 after living in England and Austria. He has spent more than three decades stretched between cultures and writing poetry, the pick of which has just appeared as his Selected Poems, from FutureCycle Press.