The ExecutionBy Alden Nowlan p. 101-102 of Selected Poems (House of Anansi Press, 1996)
On the night of the execution a man at the door
mistook me for the coroner. “Press”, I said.
But he didn’t understand. He led me into the wrong room
where the sheriff greeted me: “You’re late Padre.”
“You’re wrong,” I told him. “I’m Press.” “Yes. Of course, Reverent Press.”
We went down a stairway.
“Ah, Mr. Ellis,” said the Deputy. “Press!” I shouted. But he shoved me through a black curtain.
The lights were so bright
I couldn’t see the faces
of the men sitting
opposite. But, thank God, I thought they can see me!
“Look,” I cried, “Look at my face! Doesn’t anybody know me?”
Then a hood covered my head.
“Don’t make it harder for us,” the hangman whispered.
Poetry that is comic and speaks to the plausible but surreal truth and in plain everyday language.