Decapitate

Derived from the Latin decapitare—
caput: the head; and de: from or down.

The way the head is completely severed
from a body, with invariably fatal 

prognosis (according to every 
dictionary).  What Perseus did 

with adamantine sword to gather
the Gorgon's writhing head into a sack,

though guillotines, axes, chain-
saws, and sometimes smaller,

blunter instruments have been 
applied excruciatingly to the same 

purpose. Saints, king's wives; anarchists,
captives in war, hostages turned into

examples—heads on spikes, heads 
rolling into the executioner's basket. 

Cockroaches survive decapitations;
swatted at, horseflies are merely 

stunned—a clean death: you pick 
them up, hold their bodies with one 

hand while you twist their heads 
and pop them off with the other.  

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