Glenis Redmond


Chair


Columbia, SC, 1944


At fourteen you sit in a too-big chair,
your feet dangle like a child’s. Your five-foot
90 lb frame strapped tight to the fire that will fry your flesh,
knock the life from your bones. You sit with the word guilty
stamped on your too-small head by an all-white jury.
Alone you sit in front of those that sneer
as you sip your last breath. In that chair
their eyes burn into you with their blind truth.
Your eyes in search for somebody—anybody
who can hold you in these last minutes,
but you are warmed only by your own sweat.
Your family gone, run out of town,
because you told two white girls
where to find maypops. George Junius Stinney Jr.
show me the flower of your small hands.
Did they fit around a railroad spike
poised in the air to crush two skulls?
‘Cause all I see is your face frozen in fear
and how you were too small to fit in the chair
that was never meant to hold you.


Editor's note: To learn more about the story of George Stinney, please read the recent New York Times article "A Boy's Execution, 70 Years Later: Seeking Justice for George Stinney."




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Artwork on this page:
Detail of Mercy on the Rio Grande
18 x 36" oil on panel, 2013
Irene Hardwicke Olivieri
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