June 22, 2013 in Features

“ LAST WORDS”

R. Steven Heaps
 

It’s too much to ask to come up with a closing line

to equal John Adams’s “Jefferson still survives,”

even if that was not quite true

on that pre-internet/pre-Twitter

50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence

when Adams couldn’t have known

that Jefferson had died earlier in the day.

It would be tacky to plagiarize Walter Lance with,

“Buh-duh, buh-duh, buh-duh, That’s All Folks!”

and “Yo Jesus, wassup?” doesn’t seem quite right, either.

I wonder how many leave this realm

calling out “Momma,” an echo

of the word with which they began?

My Dad’s “Oh, oh, my back, my back” when his

abdominal aortic aneurism exploded

was certainly no match for the

raunchy one-liners from the rest of his life.

So I’d like to excel in this area of Last Words,

but rehearsing seems unseemly.

Would it be better to trust to spontaneity

when the time arrives?

No, after all this talk, failing to prepare a final speech

would be like trying not to think of a pink elephant,

so I’ll work at it.

Unfortunately, “Hello Darkness, my old friend”

has already been taken, though in different context.

I’ll probably make do with,

“Oh crap, I always knew this was going to happen.”

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