Six Days to the Gallows
On the first day I was walking and you marvelled at my feet.
Every step I took was a miracle, tiny but complete.
I raced around the bedroom and the air was filled with noise,
Twenty-eight pounds of sunshine wrapped up in a smiling boy.
On the second day I was talking and the words I made were good.
We described the sky, the earth and sea, and the far off Northern Woods.
But I struggled with the language and the wrestling made me spark,
Frustration blazed in my eyes like a demon in the dark.
On the third day I was screaming and the first bum notes were heard.
I screeched and flapped and pierced the air like a disbelieving bird.
You held me down with loving arms but all I felt were chains,
The fear and rage that tore my soul I couldn’t give a name.
On the fourth day I was leaving and you couldn’t make me stay.
I turned my back on your pleading to keep my tears at bay.
I put fifteen years between us when I went out in the world,
Six-foot-two of badness with black hair, long and curled.
On the fifth day I was killing and I brought it to your door.
I’d buried a man in the Northern Woods and I couldn’t take no more.
I begged for your forgiveness but it was a bridge too far,
You slapped my face and cursed my name in a voice as black as tar.
On the last day I was hanging, all your letters were in vain.
The priest looked deep in my heart and saw it full of shame.
I was scared as hell and looked around for one last ray of hope,
But as I recalled a mother’s love it was cut short by a rope.