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Timber

William LeCroy, who is scheduled to be executed by the federal government at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, recently sent – through other sources – one of his poems to our very own Sister Barbara Battista, who will serve as his minister of record.

The poem is titled “Timber.”

A photo of William LeCroy

From this barred window,

Browning at the edge of a grass field,

I behold those crooked pines,

Lines of sap oozing freely

Down the barkless spots on their trunks,

Perhaps weeping, remembering a time

In youth when they were green.

Orange bands bright like nooses

Strangle them, condemn them.

No longer part of the living eco-system,

Different somehow – infested, an eyesore,

Or carriers of fungus or death rot contagion –

They are marked for death, quarantined,

Anxiously awaiting their executioners.

Do they contemplate that fate?

Are they conscious, struggling to breat,

Senses atwitter, ever vigilant,

Listening for the thwock! Of looming axes,

Whose vibrations tremble every dry, brown needle?

And when they have joined the fallen

Paralyzed and prone on the forest floor,

Lingering in death unbeknownst to others

To be hacked in pieces and hauled off,

Do they scream sharply when heaped upon the pyre?

Finally consumed. Just ashes. Dead and gone.

Will there be something more for them

Than numbing oblivion, finality?

Is there someplace eternal, fertile,

Beside a tranquil river with lots of sunshine

Waiting to greet the roots of their spirit?

OIr can they focus only upon the culling

Coming along today or tomorrow or the next,

To all living things eventually,

Even the men here on death row,

Isolated, graying, dying like those pines?

Perhaps they are resigned in knowing

That much too soon, to even the mighty,

Something comes along to cut us all down.

And maybe they dread only the arbitrary waiting.

William E. LeCroy Jr. – 2011

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