Finding a Photograph of an Execution in Time Magazineby Gail Davern
Here in the jungle, after a rainfall,
the colors so vivid from trees and birds
that this little grove where the army
has chosen to stop is illuminated.
A photographer hiding, zeroes in from
200 feet on the one small prisoner
digging a hole with bare brown hands,
in brown pants and brown shirt.
When he’s finished, he lies down and crosses his arms.
Climbing in on top of him, the chosen soldier
plunges a knife into the prisoner’s throat.
A gun shot would bring the enemy.
After the first cut, another is inflicted
into the jugular then the abdomen.
With blood gushing into his coarse black hair,
the earth is kicked over him and the jungle
is put straight before the next rain washes away
the sins of the trespassers and before the film
is put in the mail to New York. The photo
appears in Time magazine as a write-up on execution.
The prisoner’s right leg rose a little off the ground.
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Gail Davern was born in London, England. She emigrated to the U.S. where she completed her university undergraduate and graduate degrees. Her work has appeared in Aileron, Alura, CQ, Crosscurrents, and the Salal Review, among other literary magazines. She was recently name finalist for the International Literary Awards: Rita Dove Award, and her chapbook, From the Island at the End of Winter was published by Finishing Line Press. She teaches at Skagit Valley College in Washington state and lives on Whidbey Island.