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The End 2

Here it comes,
I say to myself,
though I can't quite see it yet.
The end.
She'll be coming 'round the mountain.
I can feel it.
I can feel the absence of what was
opening a path for the coming
of what will never be.
Not the end, but the void
of nonbeing after the end.
Everything that is going to happen
must happen soon,
while there's still time.

Much of what I always thought
would happen isn't going to happen,
because there won't be time.
There is time, and then,
boom, there isn't anymore.
It's one of those things we know
but aren't good at including
in our calculations, our expectations.
I expected a lot of things
that didn't arrive.
Either there wasn't time
or I was wrong
and they were never
headed this way at all.

They tell you a lot of things,
some of them true,
but they don't tell you
that this last period,
while you wait for the end to come,
will be so lacking
in new things and in good things,
that it will be profoundly
and qualitatively different
from earlier periods,
when the end was heading your way
more casually, when it seemed less
personal and a whole lot less
intimidating and inescapable.

The path widens
and takes up more and more
room in your life,
squeezing out more and more
of the things which once sparked joy.
Not so much a path, perhaps,
as an arid garden of gravel
and concrete, in which the few small things
still trying to live gasp and pant
and crawl in desperation
looking for shrinking pockets of shade.
The sun, the same, has watched
as everything has gotten worse
and begun to wind down, anticipating end.

Is it possible to remain undiminished
in a space growing ever smaller
and less accommodating?
Is it possible to do anything
other than what is permitted,
what has been given to you to do?
I lived, more or less.
Now I wait, never having chosen
to pass from one state to the other.
Everyone collaborated
in reducing possibility,
in substituting for choice
the illusion of choice.
Everyone?  Did I?

I expected a lot of things—why?
I remember slow rain in a forest,
leaves dripping,
and a library, light refracted
in the water of a sprinkler:
an existence of concatenated realizations.
What was it leading to?
Well, trivially, this,
but it wasn't leading, it only was.
I still can't see the end,
but I feel it consuming everything
between it and me, feel it converging,
and even nostalgia won't slow its approach:
but how lonely we would be without our ghosts.

All poems are written and copyrighted by Michael C. Rush.
None may be republished or repurposed without permission.