An executioner is faced the most difficult situation in his life.
I am the disdained one
Who carries out orders, to survive.
They call me the black man, under my mask.
How many people I have killed
In ten years of service?
I haven’t counted; I can’t do it.
I had been, once, a butcher and a slave.
My master, the magistrate, promised me freedom
And a good pay from the city’s coffers.
Could I have refused then? Now I wish I did.
My family has never starved since then,
Even if eating modest meals.
I was promised to be able to manumit my children
When they’d be of the right age.
My son didn’t wait; he ran away to freedom while young.
Ten years when I saw the last gaze of convicted
Men and women; even children who had as only blame
They stole a coin to survive, or they were born to wrong parents.
From the rich, disgraced victims, I had also the right
To lawfully get their expensive shoes and sell them afterwards.
Today I wish I died only a slave,
The butcher who had never killed a human being.
The crowd shouts, the execution must go on, I must hit.
I’m looking in the eyes of the highwayman I have to execute
And I can’t kill my own long estranged son.