Slow-burning fires were used to
execute those tied to stakes so that
the agony would be prolonged.
It was all just a glimpse of the Hell
where the unrepentant sinners were
about to spend their eternities.
The damned would beg for more wood
to be added to the flames so their own
inner spark could be snuffed out quickly.
People would bring their children
to watch hot coals char heretic skin
and thank God for His justice.
Over time our tortures became subtler
and our fires became invisible
just like the people writhing in pain.
We avoid whole sections of the city
standing on green wood with
their soles roasting on the embers.
We no longer cheer or praise The Lord
because we don’t even pay attention
to the slow-motion execution.
The poor and hungry and addicted
expire one by one while we tell ourselves
how lucky we are to be virtuous.