So, here we are
at the end.
We have pulled down the sails to make patches for the ocean, come
we will patch those patches with paisley scraps,
with blue and white checks like
Dorothy’s dress, we will save scraps of paper
to cover half-written books; come we will grab
one last plank from the ship to patch
somewhere out past the epilogue. Come,
there is so much farther to go.
Let go of the ship’s rope ladder, and we’ll talk
about walking lightly on the world. Not
that we shouldn’t have built the ship or made
the voyage, that the less anyone
could feel your wake, the better; not
some correspondence between the weight
of each step and the storm befalling us—but follow, step light,
if only because the raft is so easily tipped.
Step light down to the raft:
apply your whole self to the push and pull,
to the tumbling forward, the pause, and we will hop
from salvaging to salvaging.
Here at the end
you will feel you are doing nothing, and
you won’t: when you think
about the space between
water droplets, a shortness of breath
will lodge in your chest the pain of knowing
there is so much to salvage, a folding
like reaching to tuck even the voyage
back into the pattern.
If you have no hope, you’ve come
to the right place to be hopeful
without it. And if you’re worried
this is escape, I will assure
you: there is no escape.
We will drift
in the mess of an oceanic canal flush with pink
rhinestones from prom dates
that never happened and as we go
we will sew up the waves. When the raft sinks,
plug your nose, look up, and hold your breath
a little longer than comfortable. Your heartbeat
will pulse diamond in the water around you.
Take just enough with you
to swim back to the world.
So here at the end this song
is for drifting, this song
is for knowing your drifting goes somewhere, this song
is for pulling with all your might
against dead air. Out here,
you will have so much desire you will forget
how to have desires,
but that’s okay, because this
is the end of the world
and we don’t have new things.
And I don’t mean to say
this couldn’t be a love story.
Only that we’ll have to salvage
from the love stories already written, here
at the end of the world.