Anna M by Spangle McQueen

And suddenly
I’m watching your story
in Swedish –
without subtitles.

You fucked him.

You fucked your son
who wore his father’s boots.

The black-iced crucifix
still intact
on the funeral cake.

You lured the girl
to wed your lad
then strangled her
and laid her down
at the foot of the cellar stairs
as if she fell.

The dried-up bouquet
still hung
hopeful
on the bedstead.

Her name was Hanna.

You walk the walk in white,
refuse the final rites.

The executioner
hides his axe behind his back
until you’re blindfolded
and secured upon the block.

A moment of panic.
A camera click.
A metallic taste.
A murderous caw from a flock of crows.
A carved-out heart from a headless corpse.
A waxen mask for the Panoptikum.


This poem is about Anna Månsdotter, the last woman to be executed in Sweden. The image is of Anna just before her execution by beheading in 1890.


Spangle McQueen is a happy grandma and hopeful poet living in Sheffield.

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