One More Before I Go

We all think 
it will be obvious that
it’s coming: a disease with
documented progression, 
an increasing need to escape
rotten biochemistry, proximity
to a deepening war zone, 
risky behavior rendering us
so top heavy we’ll clearly
topple very soon. Instead 

the moment comes
in an accident beyond
the sciences’ ability to predict,
an aneurysm previously hidden
from view, a random bullet
or stray blade slipped in
when we aren’t looking.

I pray to have a lover’s name
upon my lips when it comes,
or some poetic circumstance
to frame it if I am silenced before
I can get a word out — and of course,
I pray that whatever art I leave
as a last utterance or imprint
says something worthy of it
my last.

I pray like that each time
I sit down to the Work, as if 
I only ever have one more to offer
before I go. It humbles me
that I never feel I’ve been right,
never good enough to be finished. 

Maybe I stay alive because of that,
though I am not
so vain as to think
I am kept alive 
for it by Something Larger —

no, not me. But I do believe 

there’s an organ inside me
that knows this, and as if it were 
another person within — sure, 
call it a Muse if you must — it keeps
shaking its metaphorical head, saying,

not yet,

I’ll let you know. You’ll know 
when I know, and when I know
it may or not be too late to be perfected,

but whatever the one before you go
will be, it will have to do;

so practice, practice, then let this go.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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