This poem appears in the Fall 2019 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, go here.


Those criminals of old, when they
Were caught were hung.
The town would call the priest. He’d pray
Before was flung

Their terror-stricken bodies down
And snapped their necks.
The watchers would cry out or frown,
The human wrecks

Now dangling there pathetically,
Their souls escaped
(To heaven hypothetically),
Their faces draped.

Now criminals are rarely killed.
They die enclosed
In cells, and no one’s ever thrilled
When they’re disposed

Of by the hoary hangman, Time,
Whose ropes adorn
The guiltless too, whose only crime
Is being born.


J.P. Celia‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in such places as Rattle, Barrow Street, First Things, Light Poetry, Tar River Poetry,and The Raintown Review.

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