Monday, August 17, 2015

Sarah Stockton


I would share that last meal with you, even tear
open the ketchup packets with my teeth—
although if I help you they might accuse us
of a shared bond, of being blood sworn.

Our mutual terror of death is an arterial thread
connecting your mortal sins to my lesser grievances,
pulling me along with you on that last solemn procession
to the room down the hall with the gurney straps
and the winding sheet.

The cloudy vials of mortal sleep
deemed too unreliable for a quick death
have given you another chance—
to eat, to drink, to break
bread and add some salt but so help me God,
I'm not hungry. Let me out
of here, tear this vein
from the chamber of my bleeding heart.

Sarah reads "Mortal Terror":

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Sarah confesses: "I wrote this poem in response to the continuing controversy and legal battles over the use of death penalty in general, and the use of lethal injections in particular."

SARAH STOCKTON is a teacher, author, and poet. In her poetry, Sarah explores the themes of memory, illness, family, the nature of faith, and trauma and recovery. Visit her website,


Marta said...

Evocative lines on a difficult topic.

Oriah said...

Sarah- powerful poem (loved the image of tearing the ketchup open with your teeth) and so great to hear it in your own voice- which is so strong and clear. Certainly a good choice for 2016 Best of the Net :-) Oriah

Anonymous said...

"Mortal Terror" is a powerful poem. I loved the catsup package imagery.