June 19, 1953: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Ossining, New York

Jill McDonough


Electrocution set for eight p.m.
Two hours before they took him to be prepped
the matrons asked her if she’d like to see him;
the warden said that they could take some steps
to let them talk. A screen of metal mesh
between two wooden chairs outside her cell.
Romantic. Pyramus and Thisbe, rushed
in writing letters to their kids, to tell
them Remember: we were innocent, and could
not wrong our conscience. Now we press you close
and kiss you with all our strength. Before they stood
to go he kissed two fingers, pressed them both
against the screen, to hers: first white, then red.
Their final touch, through screen. So hard they bled.

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Source and about the poet. Photo.

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