José Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales

José Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales,
in a few short weeks it will be spring. The snows
of winter will flee away, the ice will vanish,
and the air will become soft and balmy. In short,
José Manuel Miguel Xavier Gonzales,
the annual miracle of the years will
awaken and come to pass, but you won’t be here.
The rivulet will run its purring course to the sea,
timid desert flowers will put forth their tender
shoots, the glorious valleys of this imperial
domain will blossom as the rose. Still, you won’t be
here to see.

From every tree top some wild woods
songster will carol his mating song, butterflies
will sport in the sunshine, the busy bee will hum
happy as it pursues its accustomed vocation,
the gentle breeze will tease the tassels of the wild
grasses, and all nature, José Manuel Miguel
Xavier Gonzales, will be glad but you. You
won’t be here to enjoy it because I command
the sheriff to lead you out to some remote spot,
swing you by the neck from a nodding bough of some
sturdy oak, and let you hang until you are dead.

And then, José Manuel Miguel Xavier
Gonzales, I further command that such officer,
retire quickly from your dangling corpse, that vultures
may descend upon your filthy body until
nothing shall remain but bare, bleached bones of a cold-
blooded, copper-colored, blood-thirsty, throat-cutting,
chili-eating, sheep-herding, murdering son of a bitch.

(The sentence pronounced on a murderer by a federal trial judge in New Mexico, 1881)