Joan Colby’s Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage was awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize. Her recent books include Her Heartsongs from Presa Press, Joyriding to Nightfall from FutureCycle Press, Elements from Presa Press .and Bony Old Folks from Cyberwit Press. She has another book forthcoming from The Poetry Box Select series titled The Kingdom of the Birds which should be out next August. www.joancolby.com
THE LAST THING
A blizzard of distances,
Stars on their perilous journey,
The meteor showers of the dog days.
Look up, it’s you and me
Constructed of stardust that fell
Ages ago into the seas of beginning.
Some one-celled being as thoughtless
As we are swam into consciousness
And finally arose at an altar making a promise.
The way the story ends should be
Beautiful and calm
As an ocean at dawn with the first light
Playing upon its surface.
Mathematicians prove that fire or ice
Are the probable history of what’s forthcoming.
Let’s you and me devise our own conclusion:
That the last thing we touch will be each other.
The day looks to be cold and cloudy.
In the background a large building
With Corinthian columns.
An indistinct winged figure on a pedestal.
Six men in the foreground
In black overcoats and derbies
Pose unsmiling. Some sort of civic
Ceremony in which they are honored.
There’s a formality in their stern
Expressions. Hard-bellied, mustached,
Men of significance confident in their right
To dominate this photograph.
What do they know of decay, graft,
Mendacity, the weary story
Of cities since Babylon. They stand convicted
Of complicity: acts of expansion, improvement,
The Janus face of politics. The industrial revolution
Where all things seemed possible
And every smart young man
Donned his one good suit and
Set out for the city.