Rebecca Perry

Rebecca Perry

 

THE EXECUTION OF LADY JANE GREY

 
Executioner: X
Lady Jane Grey: J

 
 
X: In your own time.
J: Yes.
X: You come here to die.
J: This morning was my last morning.
X: I trust you thanked God for it.
J: I am always grateful for waking.
X: What do you have to say?
J: Very little. I am humbled by the way the light is falling on the grass.
X: And in front of these people do you acknowledge the multitude of your sins?
J: I am bound to.
X: We who are left behind will pray for you.
J: I had hoped to see one final bird before the end. It seems they’ve all forsaken me.
X: There’s an edge to the air.
J: Despatch me quickly.
X: This is your life’s final transaction.
J: I have never taken pleasure in money.
X: This is a necessity. God will reward you for it.
J: Within reason, a wilting flower is revived with water.
X: The possibilities of the Lord are not bound by reason – you know this.
J: (pause) My clothes?
X: Your gown first.
J: Here.
X: Your headdress.
J: Here.
X: You’ve been told many times, I’m sure, how your hair resembles fire.
J: People have said, the fires of Hell.
X: Your collar.
J: Here.
X: And so…
J: Despatch me quickly.
X: May the Lord flow through the blood and muscle in my arms.
J: And the blade of your axe.
X: And the blade of my axe.
J: I think I am ready.
X: I’m sorry about the birds.
J: Such is the nature of creatures with wings.
X: I ask your forgiveness for this act.
J: You have it.
X: Then place your knees here.
J: We are cursed, we who die on our knees, and few.
X: Should I tie the blindfold?
J: Please don’t.
X: For your peace, I recommend it. Move your hair from your neck.
J: I think someone is calling me?
X: The block…
J: What shall I do? Where is it?

 
____________________________________________________________________
 

POOR SASQUATCH

 
 
When 
Sasquatch
 was 
found 
face
 down 
on 
a 
dual 
carriageway


the 
world 
united 
in
 a 
quiet 
and 
shameful 
silence.



He 
was 
moved 
to 
a
 secure
 location
 and
 subjected


to 
a
 live 
autopsy
 on 
the 
Discovery 
Channel 
revealing,


like
 a
 huge
 rose, 
circulatory, 
muscular
 and
 skeletal 
systems


much
 like 
our 
own 
but 
with
 all
 the
 predictable 
differences.



His
 stomach contents 
proved 
him
 to
 be 
a
 gentle
 vegetarian,


foraging
 on
 low
ground,
 particularly
 enjoying


varieties
 of 
berries
 usually 
poisonous
 to 
humans.


A
 reconstructive 
video 
demonstrated
 how 
he 
would
 have


walked, run 
and
 rested.


They 
put
 photos 
of 
his
 hands,
 feet 
and
 closed 
eyes


on 
the 
news 
and
 as
 part 
of
 an
 extensive
 ten
 page
 spread


in 
a
 memorial
 edition
 of
 The
 Times.


He 
was
 auctioned 
off 
to 
an 
anonymous
 bidder.



After 
public 
outcry,
the 
anonymous
 bidder


entered
 into 
negotiations 
with 
the 
British 
Museum


and
 plans 
were put 
in
 place 
to
 ensure
 that 
he
 would
 be 
interred


in 
such
 a 
place 
to 
be
 viewed
 by
 the 
public.


The 
public 
came 
in 
droves 
to 
see
 this
 thing
 so 
long 
denied
 to 
them.


Breathing 
on 
the
 glass
 and 
touching


the 
animatronic 
model 
beside 
the 
glass
 case
 despite


the 
signs 
thanking
 them 
for 
not 
doing
 so.


In
 my
 dreams 
he 
followed
 me 
around 
all 
my 
life.


When
 I 
walked
 through 
a
 shopping
 centre,
 he
 was
 behind
 me,


peering
 in 
through 
the 
shop 
windows
 at 
the
 colourful
 cakes,


which 
he 
longed
 for.


And
 when
 I
 walked 
along 
a
 pavement


he 
was 
on 
the 
traffic‐side, 
taking
 the
 hits,


the
 headlights
 of 
a 
million 
cars
 setting
 him on 
fire.


 
____________________________________________________________________
 
REBECCA PERRY is a graduate of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing. Her work has been published, most recently, in Poetry London, The Quietus and Best British Poetry 2013. Her pamphlet, little armoured (Seren), was a Poetry Book Society Pamphlet Choice and her first full collection, Beauty/Beauty, is forthcoming from Bloodaxe in January, 2015. She lives in London.
 
____________________________________________________________________
 

Read more by Rebecca Perry:

 
Three poems in Poems in Which
Two poems in The Quietus
Three poems in The Manchester Review

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