Wearing white robes and blindfolded, Faisal was beheaded with a single sweep of a gold-handled sword.

— Wikipedia

One sweep of a gold-handled sword
was all it took
For those assembled to shout words
from an old book.

In still another time, a man
held the coats, while
The faithful gathered stones, or ran
for broken tiles.

I wasn’t there, I had stepped out,
moments before,
Inured to those initial shouts
and the crowd’s roar.

Jared Carter's most recent book, Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems, is from the University of Nebraska Press. He lives in Indiana. Read other articles by Jared.