THE EXECUTION OF LADY JANE GREY
Lady Jane Grey: J
X: In your own time.
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.
X: Your headdress.
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.
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?
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