There are no more public executions.
No gibbet outside the City Hall
where the crowds can come
and watch some guy’s neck snap.
None of those body-skewering poles
like in the days of Vlad the Impaler.
Crucifixions – forget it.
Not even for religious reasons.
And there’s no Grand Inquisition.
No torture rack.
No iron maiden.
We can accept the fact
that we are civilized.
So when the bombs drop,
we straighten our ties.
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Tau, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Examined Life Journal and Midwest Quarterly.