Sunrise over hills with trees

Letter to America by Christopher Howell

One Poem

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Simply the last one
writes in gold on a pale
blue cheek bone of sky
above a hill.
Gaunt cows in a field
go on forgetting,
their curiosity twitching
on and off
like a series of casual maimings:
beheaded garter snakes, heaps
of wingless bees, the sweet
neighborhood children
thinking of lunch as they work.
Could it be the last one,
a chime
of the not and never?
There it goes, fading now,
and we can’t stop its going.
Should we
hold hands, perhaps
sing? Offer all we have
if only? Is it so
important, really? When
you think about it
who cares if it’s the last one, just
like each of us
becoming rumor
of an absent mist, light of a long
dead star
in our future past?
Who cares but our barren
and angry sister, the earth,
remembering plenitude.




Christopher HowellChristopher Howell has published 11 collections of poems, most recently Love’s Last Number (Milkweed Editions, 2017). A new collection will be forthcoming from the University of Washington Press in 2019. He teaches in the MFA program at Eastern Washington University, where he is director of Willow Springs Books.
Read three poems by Christopher Howell also appearing in

Header photo by Andrew Mayovskyy, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Christopher Howell by Joni Sternbach. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.