To the Executioners
Diana Arterian


Kneel? Why?
I came here to die.

I would like to be in hell
in time for dinner.

Strike, man, strike!
I could kill ten

men while you’re
fooling around.

Is this
your manhood? I’m

a better shot. I’m right
at the height of the rifles.
Cherokee Bill, Saddam Hussein, Melcho Ocampo, Carl Panzram, Sir Walter Raleigh, Edward H. Rulloff, Hannie Schaft


When I give
the command to fire

center on my heart, boys.
Fire straight at my heart.

Don’t mangle my body.
Please, don’t let me fall.

Here, here is the heart.
You are going to hurt me.

In a short while
we’ll meet each other

anyway. I will wait
for you. Just

one more
Madame du Barry, Adolf Eichmann, John Doyle Lee, Michael Ney, Schillschen officer, Mary Surratt, Karla Faye Tucker

Diana Arterian is currently a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing as a Merit Fellow at the University of Southern California, where she received her Bachelor’s in English Literature. She holds an MFA in poetry from the California Institute of the Arts, where she was a Beutner Fellow. Her chapbook “Death Centos” is forthcoming from Ugly Duckling Presse in 2013, and her work has appeared in River Styx and Iron Horse Literary Review, among others.