“By my last breath”

By my last breath,
you will not need me
anymore.
You will think you do
and even want to
but by my last breath,
all you will need from me
will be written down.
What you do with it,
by my last breath,
I do not care to weigh in.
But it will be there
just as I am now,
just as I was.
By my last breath,
I will cease to know you.
I will not know heaven
and I will not fear hell.
I will not know religion—
or that some pray I did.
I will not know the purr of a well fed cat.
I will not distinguish poorly drawn circles from tightly tied bows.
I will not endure love
or recognize hate.
I will not see color.
All fades to white
like murmurs through dry wall
spoken in showers.
I will forget all my possessions
and fail to tremble at the hum of war.
I will not know shadows
or how to spell my own name.
By my last breath, I will not accept my own voice
or know to what verb
death belongs.
But I will know cold—
just as I did in my life.
I will take shelter there—
just as I did last night,
until my last breath
becomes your next;
By my last breath,
may my book lay beside you,
until my words
prescribe your tongue
to speak them
as I never could.

narrative poem written on 07-11-2010 by: on mattkane.com
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