The Last Thing on Your Mind

The disappearance of the Malaysian aircraft is on everyone’s mind these days. The sadness of its possible fate and the people who are waiting in agonized patience to hear about their loved relatives seems too much to bear.

I was reminded of a poem that I wrote almost 15 years ago. Here it is:

The Last Thing on Your Mind

I wonder what
Was the last thing on your mind
Before your body, cold from the Atlantic, was pulled from the Atlantic.
Did you die instantaneously?
Or did you debate awhile with the sea?
For we must all, one time or another, argue with God.
In the end, the carefully selected words only stoop to meaninglessness.

Sometimes, the weather summons hail.
One cannot argue with that.

And did you think in that murky, fathomless, foreign place
That you’d ever see my face?
I only hope you went quite quickly.
You had no time to conjure words or thoughts at all.

Sometimes, animals kill their young.
One cannot argue with that.

Did you remember absurdly what and when we ate last?
And when you said to forget the past?
The future was ours; it was reachable.
But we were not stupid enough to know
That dreams do go.

Sometimes, the most beneficent people die.
One cannot argue with that.

Did you die gasping, grasping with no soul around you?
Did you laugh aloud I had not taken the journey, too?
Oh, if I could only know the last thing on your mind,
Then, I might be a little less inclined
To wonder why it was my fault.
And did you think…?

Sometimes, plants grow in the desert?
Sometimes, stars shoot across the sky?
Sometimes, earthquakes claim thousands?
One cannot argue with that.

And sometimes, planes go down.


About randycoates

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.
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