Last Voyage

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“I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.” last words of Thomas Hobbes, 1679

“It is very beautiful over there.” last words of Thomas Edison, 1931

Like the oil paintings
hung from the walls
of the museum
my mother took me to
for my seventh birthday--
it’s beautiful.
Blues fade into
and reds into
all blurred together
by a grey
as though the artist
had changed his
mind and tried
to cover it
with gesso,
but couldn’t
make all the color

I take a couple
steps forward,
and close my eyes,
trying to
memorize the scene
before me--
two grassy
mountains across
from my own
with splashes of
red and yellow
around the lower part
and the valley below
with the river
that looks like a
tiny stream from
way up here.

I take another
step forward,
curling my toes
around the rough
edge of the cliff
and opening
my eyes to find
a big evergreen
with an eagle’s nest
at the top,
and, below,
a little cottage
that looks like
the playhouse my brother
and I used to
have picnics in
at my grandmother’s.

I close my eyes
making sure I have
every detail right
as I take one more
step forward and
feel the ground
disappear from
beneath my feet.

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