All alone and I’m gonna die. They’re gonna make me die.
I’m here on Death Row. I planned to kill my husband
I was like a blind slug in the ground.
I didn’t see what the plan would be, and then he was dead.
It’s been 19 years, and I’m sorry for what I done.
Sometimes I cry. I carry an old Kleenex around with me in my pocket.
But they’re gonna kill me later on tonight after midnight,
so I’m having my last meal. Two double Whoppers with cheese.
Two large fries. A lemonade and cherry vanilla ice cream.
Buttermilk and cornbread like my nana used to make in the skillet,
wearing that ol’ apron she sewed up way back in the ’40’s.
And I’m going to have a salad cuz I know it’s good for me
even though I’m gonna die.
I think about that ol’ tire that I used to roll around in
when I was just a child, a-spinning, a-spinning,
I’d be stuck inside it a-spinning through the grass.
Well, soon I’ll be stuck in the Death Room bed,
a-waiting, a-waiting, when they stick me with that needle
everybody watching through the window.
God bless you all, Amazing Grace, amen.
Author’s Note: This poem was inspired by Kelly Renee Gissendaner who was executed by the State of Georgia on September 30, 2015 for plotting the murder of her husband.
Chuka Susan Chesney is a poet, artist, and sculptor. For 14 years, she and her husband Kent owned a printing and graphics company. She belongs to the Los Angeles Art Association, Pasadena Society of Artists, and Women Painters West and has won awards for her paintings. Susan has always thought of herself as mainly an artist. But since she was in high school, she knew that she was secretly a poet, too. Lately she has been writing a lot of poems. Nine of them will be published in the next couple of months in Inklette, Peacock Journal, Poetry Leaves, and Crossings at Carnegie Poet/Artist Collaboration Exhibition and chapbook.