“My son, do you wish to confess to the Lord,
our Savior?” asked the priest, bible in hand.
“I won’t because your Lord doesn’t exist,
only in the minds of His flock, in the swell of mist.
He turned his back on me, and I’ll do the same to Him,
even when they strap me in the chair, I’ll let them.
If He stops the lightning from ripping me apart,
then I’ll turn to him.”

The family slept quietly, until I entered their house.
One by one, I disturbed them, knife in hand.
First the father, a pot-bellied molester,
Defenseless in his sleep against my sharp edge.

I look through the cell door at the balding priest,
my disrespect knotting his brow.
“I’ve lived my life to its fullest, and I’m quite happy with it.
I’ve no right to question that now,
not here on Death Row, with my fellow inmates watching.
We’re all going to die – me, you, the other guy;
I’m just lucky enough to know when and where –
nine-thirty, down the hall, in a chair.”

“My dear young man, our Savior forgives all sins,
even murder, as He died for them so that we may live.”

Upstairs to the mother who let the carnal sins happen.
Time and again, she listened to her daughter’s screams. I want
So much to hear hers, but that would wake my love,
And it’s not her turn.
My knife buried itself, etching her daughter’s name,
And I stared into the woman’s distorted face,
Longing for a kiss which I gladly gave.

“He has discarded His children, cast them into the fire,
waiting for their bodies to melt, releasing the souls,
rising with the currents of heat and steam. I don’t need Him.”
The priest rubs his cross, as if to summon God.
“Please, tell me why.
Why did you kill your girlfriend and her family?
Why do you hate God so much?”

Their daughter was tainted, she touched me.
Every time, I said, “No, not yet.”
As I passed her mirror, swirls of red ink
Soaked into my clothes. Rosy shades of crimson,
Outlined my mouth, thick like her mother’s lipstick.
I smeared it into my forearm, listening to breathing
And her heart beating. I climbed into bed,
To hold her one last time. I hated to let her go.

© 1993 David Carroll. All rights reserved.