Pulling the trigger’s the easy part, because
you never know if it’s actually you
or one of the other Brimob officers
who’s firing live rounds. It might be
that I’ve never fired a fatal shot!
We work in a team, five of us to fetch
the prisoner from his isolation cell.
They don’t protest much, though –
they’ve been on death row long enough.
It takes place in the middle of the night.
If it were light enough, maybe you’d see
more than the whites of their eyes.
They can choose to cover their face
before we tie them up.
That’s the worst bit; touching
men who are about to die,
lacing their hands and feet and limbs
to the cross, using thick rope. God has decreed
whether or not they sin. I say to them:
I’m sorry, just doing my job.
It’s extra cash, you see – we’re police officers by day.
We get $100 a time for this, by way of bonus, earn it
for those few moments of brutal intimacy –
the sweaty palms and rapid breathing. We escort them
to a clearing in the jungle.
In the darkness, a torch is shone
onto a target drawn over their hearts.
You could cover it with the palm of your hand.
In my nightmares I am dazzled
by that beam, but stare into it
for as long as I can because when it drops
below my gaze, I know my brothers are taking aim.
Note: Brimob – term given to teams of executioners appointed to carry out the death penalty on drugs-related convicts on the prison island of Nusa Kambangan, Indonesia (Guardian, 7 March 2015)
Copyright © 2015. Hannah Stone
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