He was the last of them.
Not the strongest,
Not the fastest,
But the last.
Now marching towards the gallows with uncompromising dignity.

The murder man,
The devil man,
Once redoubtable and now only moments from death.
Like the questing conquistador who has no more windmills to chase,
Like the unknown solider with nothing left to prove.

There is no fanfare.
No mention of salvation.
No tearful wishes from any long-lost kin.
Only the end.
And it will come quickly.

On the far side of the courtyard is a small boy.
Squinting into the dappled sunlight that now envelops the scaffold.
As the last steps are taken and the noose readied, a quiet voice.
A lonely child’s pray for comfort,
A condemned man’s swan song.

Copyright ©2003 by John L. Fischer


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