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 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.