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Poetry: Efficiency

by Lilianna Meldrum


“If there are signs of life, check vital signs Until signs cease.” Patience is tantamount To the slow wheels of justice; justice bends For none but those who bend it. Ready, count: Now, up to 60, no signs. It’s complete, A collection of parts: foot’s sole, jaw’s hinge, Scars from a thousand brushes with the ground.

Efficiency, measured in time: with a syringe, Up to two hours. Unfortunate. A squad Requires sandbags (blood), but it is quick And ordered, provided the shots are true,

All goes as planned and the heart is hit. Electrocution, unwise. You don’t need guilt,   Not like this: death in ear and skin and hair. Smoke rises like a Vatican cloud, and our Reflected lust an inconvenient terror. What’s wanted: cruelty, manageable. We like Our spectacle excusable, polite, Playing at reason: “If the statement exceeds two minutes, the execution shall proceed.”

Quoted lines closely adapted from Montana State Prison Execution Technical Manual (Effective date 1.16.2013)


This poem originally appeared in Volume 7 Issue 2 of Life Matters Journal.

Click here to read the magazine for free online. Visit to purchase an annual hard-copy subscription.


Disclaimer: The views presented in the Rehumanize Blog do not necessarily represent the views of all members, contributors, or donors. We exist to present a forum for discussion within the Consistent Life Ethic, to promote discourse and present an opportunity for peer review and dialogue.

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