• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 05

The Prisoner Shall Have His Choice of Final Repast

I thought to buy time,
a few more days,
perhaps a few more weeks.
To see the days lengthen
until buds broke across the orchards.
To feel the warmth of one last spring.
To hear the dawn's chorus of birdsong,
each territory marked by melody.

A promise is a promise after all
and they were not to know
I'd just as soon have fresh-baked bread,
a wedge of brie, a glass of wine.
They took my list, conferred a while,
agreed among themselves that
while a flagon of oak-casked Port,
a flask of gin, a flitch of bacon
might be found at winter’s end,
apricots and peaches, redcurrants,
might prove a greater challenge.

The governor joined me
for my final meal, shared memories,
sweet white grapes, Morello cherries.
I raised my glass and drank his health.
Unable to reciprocate, he thanked me,
said he’d miss our conversations.


The Prisoner Shall Have His Choice of Final Repast

Now the evening fades,
my lonely hours marked only
by the dappled shadows of the moon
sweeping across the flagstoned floor.