Last Stop

Long before the train huffs into the station, before

the windows swim with gray pecks of birds and blue

smoke from the end of dying cigarettes, I wonder


what I might say to keep the music going or even if

it’s worth the effort to shake the tree and make

a final apple fall between the two of us, a last resort


to gather the dry stems of something once crisp

and young and weave them into – what? –

a basket or a backstop or any damn thing. Or maybe


just call a last hurrah, have a drink and be done

with it, a cod standing on its last legs like a dog

that hasn’t been fed a decent meal in over


a month, now riddled with fleas, fur matted with

burrs, mud, unanswered texts and calls, drinking

from puddles muddy with hope. Spit on it.


Nice guys finish last and nice girls just sit

beside the phone until it rings. An old story.

I think about the sequence of events, hear


the names of the stations called as I near

the last one, the last laugh, where I may (or may

not) make one last ditch effort to entrance you


forever, to fill you in on every last detail of what

is wrong with my life without you, of what a stupid

shit you are for moving to this god forsaken


twin bed without even an extra pillow. I stand

on the shivering floor, reach up to extract one

small carry on, keep my feet in the lurch


and last gasp of the train and the cry

of the conductor as he hawks out the name

of the final station and I step cautiously


along behind the row of other numbed

travelers, my brain primed at the last minute

to bark, to shriek, to wail.


Published in:

Off the Coast, Summer 2015