DEAD MAN WALKING by Richard Harry
Like any journey, starts with a single step,
The first when you heard your sentence in court.
Guilty as charged, a car thief with a rep,
A well known three time loser who got caught.
Who would believe, you did not know the baby
Was in the back seat. The court did not care.
You stole the car to impress a lady.
You abandoned the car and left her there,
The baby died so they gave you the chair.
That's when it all started ulcers and pain,
Six years of being raped, beaten and abused,
By inmates and guards, afraid to complain ,
Stomach churning as you wait for the news.
Appeal denied, date of execution---/--/-
Your heart feels like it is lodged in your throat ,
Every time the guard 's keys clink in your section,
Sweating so much you could start your own moat .
Move away from the bars, you know the rote.
Followed by the cry Dead Man Walking here,
As another inmate walks that last mile.
Body doubled in pain you shake in fear.
And the tears begin to flow from eyes while,
Guards stand displaying a sardonic smile.
As they take bets on whether or not he walks ,
Or will be carried down that narrow aisle.
He wants to act tough but his body balks,
He's so pale they throw him some smelling salts.
The next day he almost had a heart attack,
When the guards came until he remembered,
Chaplain promised a French dinner in fact,
Had turned his office into a restaurant.
Although the food was exquisitely prepared ,
The room looked like a restaurant in town
Complete with aroma .He was so scared,
Everything tasted like it was dark brown.
It's no surprise he could not keep it down.
This torture was his life six years of appeals ,
A divorce and two years praying to God,
Brought two stays letting him know God was real.
The death penalty caused all this stress,
No! It's not odd for a man under forty,
In good shape to go from weighing a fit
Two hundred pounds.to one hundred and forty;
Broken in his mind, body and spirit,
When faced with the death penalty, hear it.
The quiet at night is broken as he screams,
Waking himself and others in death row,
Each night he sees the grim reaper in dreams.
How he manages without sleep we don't know.
Like a marathon runner he stumbles,
And then falls as he nears the finish line.
His life flashing before him as he crumbles.
Time seems to crawl; no he is not fine,
As he reaches for Jesus his lifeline.
Dead Man Walking this time he is the one,
Surrounded by guards front ,back and both sides,
Head shaved, pants legs slit, everything's done.
Head held down to hide the fear in his eyes.
Finally he looks up to see a room,
Full of people there to witness his death.
He cries out as he sees the chair and doom.
Passes out while trying to catch his breath.
They laid him down calling his name, Seth, Seth.
As the doc pronounced him dead, a pity,
The phone rang it was answered by the warden.
Another victim of the death penalty,
The governor had issued a full pardon.