When the World Ends
“Have you wondered where you would wake up
if the world ended tonight? Personally
I am unabashed in my preference,”
I say to my children over a game of cards
at our dining table.
Jupiter is clear and bright in their
eyes. Reflecting like a sonnet that
wilts while recited. They call my bluff
by raising my bet.
So I relate to them the true account
as a warning.
“Grimbald was a cat”
I say to them as they listen rapt and restless
“who sold the last of his whiskers for rice
so he could continue to write
unimpeded his confession to the murder
a laundry mat attendant
in a duel over Tillie
the laundry mat’s owner’s daughter. Ten paces they took
and then two pistols fired on one oddly cool August morning.
Romantically birds would have flown from the trees
after the shots
as a salute to poor Maxwell at the moment of his death
but there were no birds. Or anyone really. The only
witness to the tragic affair being
who served as a stoic attendant
to ensure the correct policies were
adhered during the event. After the loss of her true love
Tillie shaved off all her bourbon colored hair
and fashioning the locks into a rope
tied herself with it to a mosaic tile she found in the basement. She
drowned herself in the pool at her mother’s estate
in upper Vermont.
It is said her ghost still resides there
at the bottom. In an eternal lonely wetness
since no one will
swim there anymore out of a respectful fear. As for
Grimbald the cat
he was acquitted on the grounds of a broken heart. He immigrated
to South America
to live reclusively in the Andes
managing a bee farm.”
After my telling this true account of which I came into the possession of
by hearsay, rumor and
by third hand information
and after many a grievously lost hand on my part
I ask the children again
where they would wake
when the world ends.
The middle child smiles with his winnings stacked and sparkling
off of his teeth
“Somewhere under the stars.” Which makes me grin
and breathe easy for the evening.