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Monday, December 12, 2016


by j.lewis

Image source: ACLU Capital Punishment Project

Former Eagle Scout set to be executed for Alabama killing
Fox News, December 7, 2016

two and twenty years ago
one life went out
with details that are
of course, on record

the extinguisher
one score and two years later
after all appeals have failed
sits on the infamous row
while a state plays
mother may i with scotus
anxious to finally do
unto him what he did
unto another

i am not from alabama
cannot even tell you
where i was that day
when one life and some
unimportant sum of money
were taken in huntsville
video rolling, rolling

today i saw his face
where else but on facebook
an absolutely ordinary face
and when i asked google
for details, for explanation
there was the face again
over a caption from fox
that called him
a former eagle scout

and i wondered
how does one become
a former eagle scout
is there a ceremony
a court of dishonor
that strips away
all merit, all honor
as if to say
we never knew you

and would that hurt
any less than dying
or would the former scout
even care at this point
knowing how determined
a certain state can be
when they want to be sure
you remain forever unable
to reclaim that eagle

Editor’s Postscript: Ronald Smith was executed on December 8, 2016. See “Alabama's cruel and unusual execution of Ronald Smith” —Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times, December 9, 2016

j.lewis is an internationally published poet, musician, and nurse practitioner. His poems have appeared online and in print in numerous journals from California to Nigeria to the UK. a clear day in october, his first collection of poetry and photography was published in June 2016. A chapbook is forthcoming from Praxis Magazine in early 2017.