January 29, 2014: One day more

One day more!
Another day, another destiny.
This never-ending road to Calvary…
——
The clocks in four rooms
are watched differently
by those in those rooms.

One day more….
The man in the small cell
watches as the second hand
records the passage of this crucial day.
Second
by
Second
One
day
more.

One day more
If he can survive 23 hours and 59 minutes
He will have one day more.
And more.

One day more.
In another room
a family watches the clock
as it records one more day
of loss and sadness
and anger.
One day more
without a husband
and a father.

One day more.
Four peopole summoned
by a man
to wait
to watch him die
wait to hear
if others will make their wait
unnecessary.
Lawyers in another room
in another place
fight for another day,
fight with pleas and appeals,
fight against time
by consuming time
in judge’s offices.

One day more.
They know that if
they can keep the courts
from rejecting one last appeal
they can buy
one day more
for the man in the small room.

One day more.
For witnesses gathered
in another room
on behalf of the public,
waiting for the call
to another room
to watch a man die.

One day more
means different things
to different people.
One day more of life.
One day more of grieving.
One day more of fighting
One day more in a small room
waiting for the call.

Noon.
One-half day more.
The man in the cell knows
He must see the clock
go around
one more time
to get one day more.

The family knows
that if nothing happens
in this half-day
there will be one day more
and more
of sadness and loss.

The lawyers know
that they only need to buy
one-half day more
for the man in the cell
to have more.

The witnesses
in the windowless
concrete-block
pastel off-green room
know someday
they will return
for one more day
if the lawyers obtain
one day more.

One day more
What a life I might have known—

Does the man in the cell
ponder what might have been
had he made one different choice
so long ago
in an unforgotten moment?
What a life
I might have known.
And the second hand
moves closer to
one
day
more.

Does the family
in another room
ponder what might have been
had he made one different choice
on that terrible day
so long ago
in a moment still marked
by physical scars
and physical pain
and personal loss.

And do they think
how much they would like
the same thing the man in the cell
would like,
but in a different way.
One day more
with a lost loved one?
Just
one
day
more.

Four o’clock.
Only eight hours to win
One day more.

Four-thirty.
The word comes.
The Supreme Court
has said “no”
to two appeals.

One hope remains
for one day more.
A stay remains
from the Eighth Circuit.

Seven forty-five.
The Attorney General
asks the U. S. Supreme Court
to end the stay.

For the man in the cell
the second hand slows.
Each second is more precious.
Each brings him closer to
no more days
or to one day more
and more

For the family in another room
the wish might be
for the second hand
to move faster.

In the room of the lawyers,
there is knowledge that
things have suddenly darkened.
Maybe lawyers can make
one
more
appeal
for
one
day
more..

In the witness room
the clock moves at normal pace
a tiring wait stretches
to more tired waiting.

Nine twenty-three
A telephone rings
in another room.
Officials are told
the Supreme Court
has vacated the final stay.

The man in the room
is moved
from his holding cell
to the execution room.

In the family room,
members are told
the time is near
for the moment they have sought.

In the witness room,
The Corrections Director
explains what is to happen
soon.
The prison superintendent says
they’ll be moving to the
execution chamber
in about twenty minutes.

Nine forty-five.
The man on the gurney
hears the reading
of the warrant for his death.

Nine fifty-six.
The condemned man
asks where he should look
to see his supporters
when the curtains are opened.
To your left,
he is told.
The clock matters not now.
He has no last words.

Outside the prison,
lawyers who have sought
the stays file
one
more
appeal

Ten p.m.
In the family room
members move toward
their viewing area.
In the witness room,
those invited by the man
move toward their viewing area
to watch
what he has asked them to watch.

Ten oh five.
In the witness room
seven witnesses,
four citizens
and three reporters
head to their viewing area.

Ten-ten.
The Attorney General
tells the prison
there are no
new legal developments.
The Governor,
asked by the Corrections Director
if the execution should go forward,
says yes.

In the viewing areas
around the execution room
the outer curtains are opened.
And witnesses see
the man
on the gurney.

The time is now, the day is here
One day more!
The man on the gurney
nods toward his witnesses,
mouths a few words,
and turns to face the ceiling.

Ten-eleven.
The injection of the drug,
its legal origins
now unimportant in the moment,
begins to flow
into the body
of the man
on the gurney.

One minute more!
One second more!
One…….

A couple of hard breaths
and stillness.

Ten twenty.
The man is dead.
One hundred minutes short
of one day more.
The curtains are closed.
The witnesses file out.
Some leave the prison.
Reporters remain
and so does the family.

Ten twenty-three.
The attorneys learn
The U. S. Supreme Court
has denied the last appeal.

In the press room,
the family gathers
and the widow reads a statement.

Waiting more than twenty years
for justice to be done
is cruel and unusual punishment
for the victims.
An absurd justice system
has prolonged the agony
of the family.
There is much discussion
about the murderer
and his form of execution.
But what, she asks,
about the victims?

Eleven oh-eight.
The press conference ends.
The family leaves.
The reporters begin to
tell the story
about a man’s
one
last
day
while a family leaves.

Tomorrow we’ll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn.
One more day.
One day more!

(Lyrics from One Day More by Alain Boubil and Jean-Marc Natel, from Les Miserables)

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