Dead Man Walking

Patrizia Poli
2 min readOct 20, 2022

A penny for your thoughts.
Are you thinking about your girlfriend? Are you thinking about what to ask for dinner? Are you thinking about dawn that grabs you?
I see your arm, tattooed and strong, the tendons hardening just enough to allow you to grab the bottle through the bars. Your eyes are normal, not ferocious, not naive, not good, not bad, just a common childish blue.
“Don’t make contact”, they taught me in the preparatory course, “don’t personalize”, said the psychologists.
Are you going to piss yourself tomorrow? Will I have to smell your and my armpits mingling in the corridor?
There will be people watching, beyond the glass, people motivated by hatred, people torn by pain. I don’t hate you, you are my job.
So, tomorrow, in the corridor, I’ll think of the little girl you burned alive, I’ll think of when she stretched out her arms to you — as the witnesses said — and called for “help me”, while you were throwing gasoline on her. I will ask myself, over and over again, how much she will have screamed, how much she will have cried and suffered, I will ask myself in front of your cyanotic face, while I will tighten the straps on the bed.
But when the plunger starts, and the syringes drop one by one, I will be the same as you, I will be the man who burns the child.
I wish I had no thoughts tonight, I would like not to dream, I wish you weren’t engraved forever in my heart. Above all, I would like not to ask myself if, tomorrow at dawn, when you are dead, I will still be alive.



Patrizia Poli

Patrizia Poli was born in Livorno in 1961. Writer of fiction and blogger, she published many novels.