Sacrifice

Arms tied to the wooden cross,

chin slumped against his tattered coat.

Withered from the waist down,

a fool in the stocks.

 

Crows perch on his shoulders,

knock rhythms into his hollow head.

He would shout at them

if he had a voice.

 

The farmer's daughter wraps a pink scarf

around his neck, places a striped carnation

in his belt, and calls her father

to place gloves on his stiff hands.

 

A noose is tied around his chest

to haul him onto the farmer's back;

the open gate four feet away

when his cross is driven back into the ground.

 

Surrounding him are logs piled high,

straw stuffed in the gaps.

The farmer strikes a match

as gunpowder stars fill the darkening sky,

 

Remember, Remember,

the Fifth of November

echoes around the flames.     

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