Joshua Johnston was born and raised in Caneyville, Kentucky. His work has appeared in publications such as Sprung Formal, Hobart, Spork, and Queen Mob’s Teahouse. He is co-founding editor of Frontier Slumber and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he’s pursuing an MFA at Indiana University.
The Other People
Some folks come to the executions
just for the refreshments,
ignoring the gallows altogether
while stuffing their mouths
with soft pretzels or guzzling lemon shakeups
they swear just can’t be copied at home.
Others indulge in the spectacle for a little while,
chucking a rock at the condemned
or joining a group chant
of Enough with this crap, open up the trap,
but they still reach for a funnel cake
or basket of chicken fingers
when the tension gets to be too much.
Some, however, come just for the hanging,
ignoring my concession stand altogether.
They watch the body jerk while hardly blinking.
They watch the noose tighten on an empty stomach.
I point these people out to my son
(I’ve been training him on the deep fryer).
I say, See them? We don’t talk to them.