The Last Poem
Let last words be
what last words are,
a string of perils
in a tabernacle of human clay.
Selfish, sexual, galling, moored, glorious:
they are baptize, yes,
but capsize, too.
Stutter and halt.
Take this helpful test at home.
Is your tongue going slack
in the trophy room of the mouth?
Are the old poems
dissolving under heavy use?
Are disappointments returning on ships
you once commissioned
along the salt & silken
trade routes of the heart,
and every hymn you've ever sung
as though, just now, a great rat-maestro were conducting
his entire symphony of gnawing?
Prepare yourself then.
Take the garbage to the curb.
Sort your laundry according to genus and species.
See the cat but do not kick it.
In your rose bed
a thing glows.
It is the long-lost chip of a murdered president's
occipital bone and the perfect
flint to start a fire.
Warm yourself. The Surgeon General
and the mad scientist
cannot save you now.
Lost is lost when it comes to this.
And although the last poem reserves the right to speak
when spoken to, in a language
more dear than purple,
a French phrase comes to mind-- douce doleur .
We love our lives, and then
we are gone.
The last poem is non-transferable.
That much, at least, seems clear.