Poem #7 of 30

george junious stinney
George Junious Stinney, 14, is the youngest person to be executed in the United States.

IN DEFENSE OF A BODY

His body threatened to drown itself in the stripes.

His body bartered with Rigor Mortis
after challenging the floor to a pissing contest;
it was block ice to the hot stream that interrupted
parts of the night he was able to remember
the down along the muscle of the horse’s throat;
the taste of ice cream he never received
for admitting to trying to extract the souls of two girls
with a railroad tie.

His body offered to disappear in the uniform.

His eyes indicted the camera’s objectivity;
the words he would swallow with loose teeth
given Their chance; made no overt attempt at
more than, “Suh,” and when his body refused its bones;
slunk about as a rag in the hands of a mama
whose voice chewed itself, swallowed, and willed
energy for what else would be required of the body
that had given him the one that tentatively met its 14 years:
hesitated beyond 5 feet; beyond 100 pounds,

His body dared to reveal itself.

His feet did not touch the floor beneath the chair
where They would extract his soul in exchange for the two girls’.
A mask too big for his face sprung for that floor the first time,
his eyes wide-open, fresh tears trying to wash the body’s shock;
drool trickling down the side of his mouth for a voice chewed,
swallowed, and willed for what else would be required of the body
that tentatively met its 14 years:
hesitated beyond 5 feet; beyond 100 pounds,

His body took two more jolts of electricity
before They could be convinced.

George Junious Stinney being led into chambers, 1944

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Poem #7 of 30

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s