Tag Archives: poem about prison inmate

As Would Only Be Just (photo: Ben O'Sullivan)

As Would Only Be Just

the light shone bright
in an almost sinister way
through the windows that day.
i sat stoically at my usual table
in the middle of the crowded cafeteria
strategically seated
for what was about to go down.

as soon as i was sure
that no one was looking,
i quietly pulled out
the rusty box cutter
that i had snatched the night before
and placed it on the back of my seat
as we had discussed.

in no time at all
the blood that seconds prior
was running blue through your veins
was dripping down my back
in a river of crimson.

amidst the screams and the gasps
my instinct was to turn around
and put pressure on your neck
to stop all of the life
from gushing out of you.

i sat calmly in my chair instead,
with my eyes closed and my mouth shut
as we had discussed.

the reactions of those around us
to your premature departure
made all of the hair on my body
stand in pure terror.

then it finally occurred to me
that i may have made a mistake,
that i may have been responsible
for the warm red blood
that soaked my shirt and dripped down
to the grimy linoleum floor
that your body lay lifeless on.

but the decision wasn’t mine.
after all, it was your hand
that thrust the razor’s edge
into your throat
on that sunny afternoon
as we had discussed.

and now you’re gone
from this rotten place
and even though i can’t believe
you’re never coming back,
i’m glad you were able
to escape the way you did,
never wavering
in your affinity for theatricality.

i hope you’re happy now
my dearly departed friend
feeling the cool mountain air on your face
with a carton of cigarettes
and a bottle of single malt whiskey
as would only be just.