Last Words

What I read
came to me
in the night,
delivered by
a cloaked messenger
riding a dark horse,
all shadow and wind,
who sped through
the trees without hesitation,
springing ahead
of urgency,
hiding a secret
meant for silent ears,
holding a precious parcel
of words strewn
across a page,
a litany
of leftover
with the dust
of past lives.

My eyes
were saddened
by this author’s epistle,
who denied his birthright
in favor of a golden life,
who lived teetering
on the edge of a promise;
but refused even
to tiptoe
out of the
gilded cage;
who couldn’t muster
the courage to walk
the wild, uneven terrain
of a soulful world,
aiming, instead,
for a life
that left
no tracks.

"Who?" I asked,
“Who wrote this
anguished story?”

The dark horse
reared up and
turned away,
eager to dash off
while the cloaked rider
held the reigns.
He looked back,
his sunken eyes
catching mine
for the first time.

It was then
that I recognized
the scythe in his hand
and a chilling tingle
snaked up my spine.

“It’s not too late,”
he said,
“But we have a date,
you and I, and
these could be
your last words

I often go with an image that comes to me in my writing, letting a scene appear, and following where it will lead. "Last Words" is an example of this  kind of inspired writing. Death has been a long-time companion to me and shows up often in my writing and poetry, starting in 1977 as the key figure in an unpublished fiction trilogy,  "A Game With Death."  

Here's an interesting exercise: Imagine Death comes to you, hands you a letter, and you are surprised to find it is your own last words.  What do you imagine you might read? What would you like to read?

© Nick LeForce
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