Texas Death Row: Reflections of a Different World
Edited by Jennifer Gauntt, Julia Guthrie, Trina Kowis, H. Dave Lewis, Shana Templeton, Robert Uren, and Linda Wetzel
“When It’s At Your Door”
You sit, lay the tax, and wait for nothingâ€”
another damp night in the yellow light of cheap bulbs
within the gray walls amongst men,
killers, who struggle for their lives.
“You will be laid into the earth” they say,
“Laid by men in linen clothes and white linen hats,
For the state doesn’t buy wool.”
You sleep at dusk, dawn, night or day.
It doesn’t really matter.
It doesn’t matter at all.
You have the responsibilities of a rock:
just sit and wait till some force comes
and holds you sway and makes you cry,
like the cold, hard men whom I’ve seen
with tears in their eyes.
I shouldn’t be surprised.
It drives you mad. It drives you crazy,
but you cannot go insane;
the sanity is all that keeps you going,
when darkness surrounds your day.
And when the sleep does not come
you just lie there, wearily,
wondering when you’ll fly out of your body
and into the bliss of night, still wondering
if there really is a hell; a place where you’ll burn
for the pleasures procured.
So you count the tickets of sin,
the receipts of your deeds, but
you’re always in the red.
And you hear the voices prattling all the time,
some of god, some of money, some of love gone by,
and you think how stupid their conversation is.
They argue and scream, making a constant fuss,
yet if they are silent, mute and still,
then perhaps, just perhaps,
they will become just like you.
But do you really fear?
Yes, perhaps a little, as the child,
who once feared the dark room
with the open, closet door, yet as with all trips,
as with all fears in time, you learn to learn
what’s feared and what’s trite,
and you care for neither, for neither care for you,
so over you roll, slapping your pillow,
looking at the time, hoping your neighbor
does not hear, cannot hear,
the thoughts within your mind.
The editors of Texas Death Row: Reflections of a Different World were members of the Fall 2009 graduate Editing and Publishing Practicum taught by Paul Ruffin at Sam Houston State University. All are pursuingÂ masters of artsÂ degrees from SHSU.
Find more info about the book here.