“Last Day on Earth” by Larry Crist

Larry Crist


On this the last day on earth
I bathe, wash my hair, clean my nails
shave with a new blade

I dress because there’s a chill in the air
put on that nice silky Hawaiian shirt
Make coffee and use my favorite mug
Van Gogh Starry nights the one with the little chip on the lip

I do all the things I normally do
try and pay attention to each task
without thinking, gee, I won’t be doing this anymore
That could drive me crazy before this day is done

I’d spend even more time staring out the window
and looking at the sky than usual
I’d gaze at my car from the porch
It will be crazy on the roads today

With my third cup of coffee I add a shot
finishing that single malt I’d been saving
I smoke that bud I’ve had around for a while too
Then perhaps eat that Viagra someone gave me that I’ve had forever
but was afraid of
that: erection over four hours see your physician…warning
I could never tell if that’s for real or just advertising
anyway, what can I lose today?

I’d make love to my wife
I’d try and take my time
but probably wouldn’t exceed four hours
With the time left over I’d spread out all my favorite porn mags
and hold a contest as to my very favorite

I’d already have made us a nice breakfast
with my special crispy potatoes and perfect overeasy eggs
and we’d eat them on the porch
along with a tall bloody mary
while listening to Frank Sinatra
and perhaps dance a couple turns
I’d probably want to write a poem
but would resist this impulse

We’d talk of course but it’d be a vastly different kind of discussion
None of that, when are you going to get a job kind of stuff
or could you clean out the garage or is tonight recycling?
or the house sure is getting dirty kind of talk
We wouldn’t discuss “the relationship”
We’d be on to more personal metaphysical digressions
during which I’d probably make another cocktail
while she clutched the cat and we’d both cry and maybe she’d
get her guitar and play that song she’s never really played for me

She’d want to call her mother
and I’d want to check emails and open one last day of mail
but nothing would have come and it wouldn’t matter if it did
And I’d pull her off the phone, smash it
beside where I had already smashed the clock and television
And we’d discuss how we should have gotten together with so and so
one last time, deciding it would have been too painful
on this the last day

We’d continue, sitting together
taking turns holding the cat, holding each other
sharing bits of conversation, listening to our
favorite tunes and discussing what to do for dinner
and I’d go make us martinis instead with lots of olives
while our eyes continued trained on the sky
watching it get dark
waiting for the end together
waiting for it both alone

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009

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