June 9, 1916: Juan Sanchez
Deming, New Mexico
Natives cut hemp, tore and hackled it by hand,
baled fiber, shipped it to Tubbs Cordage factory
where men still shake out tangles, dirt and sand,
and feed hemp to successive combing machines
until it pours as water from a hose.
Slivers spin clockwise into yarn, then double
back in strands, reverse again to rope,
so all good rope is absolutely neutral.

San Quentin’s warden sent the sheriff heights, 
weights, two good ropes, a schedule. Grease the line 
with mutton tallow; put the knot behind
his left ear. After Sanchez was hanged, cut down,
he came to life on the ground: breathing, but not
conscious.  They carried him back up to the drop.

Notes:

Sanchez was one of Pancho Villa’s Villistas captured in Columbus, New Mexico.

Quotations:

“Rope and Rope Making,” Encyclopedia Britannica, 1929

Johnston, J. A. “Warden J. A. Johnston of San Quentin to Herbert J. McGrath, sherriff of Grant County, New Mexico, who was preparing to conduct his first execution.” La Gaceta, El Boletin de Corral de Santa Fe Westerner, June 1964

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