If you wait until the end comes, friend—
the end of the world, I mean—
to pick up a book and read,
you will never find out
how love and lust,
though cousins, differ,
and why one is far superior to the other.
Luck may sometimes nudge you in the right direction,
toward love and not toward lust,
but how lucky can you be if you are not a reader?
crammed with memories,
one in particular:
rising at the meadowlark’s song
to walk across the dew-drenched grass,
her feet bare and cold and wet,
humming little nonsense tunes
to greet the light, bolder now
than when she’d left the house,
turning to see him at the window,
her ancient father;
how small he looks,
how like a cattail reed,
brown and brittle
at summer’s end—
and then he is falling,
clutching at his breast,
sailing off beyond the morning light,
the midday light, every light
there ever was or will be.
Pulling her phone from her skirt
pocket, she calls her friend:
“It’s over now. Come.