Ends and Ends

The last woman to survive in a horror film
is called the Final Girl and the only
remaining member of a species gone extinct
is an endling. There’s no word for the last
time you tell someone you love them
and mean it
but there should be.
In some other tongue, there might
be a word for the last sip
of a cup of coffee, or the last
bite of a cake. Would the word
change if the coffee is on the final
day of a vacation you took with the man
you loved before you both slipped from
one another’s life? Or if the cake is from
a recipe from your great aunt—who died
in a war but no one in your family ever
says how as if war alone is answer enough.
The mathematician Fermat’s last theorem
has no proof and now it’s shorthand for something
inscrutable, for mystery. There should be a word
for your last thought and for your last act and isn’t
there something extra sad about it when no one
understands them? There should be a word
for the last time you hold someone’s hand.
There’s a magazine that keeps sending me warning
last issues. I wonder if this is error or design. Or if
there’s some alternate universe subscriber me
living in the world where last means never
means always.
Where you have your last issue,
last meal,
last kiss,
over and over.
Where your last I love you
is also the first
the best
And it happens
again and again
until we all survive.


Questions for Men Falling Through Space

When you were a child did you dream of the stars? Were they so bright, you woke up momentarily blinded?
.          Like that time you walked too far out into the snow drowned field and everything around you was white, white, white.

Or did this love come later? A reaching to grasp galaxies. You told someone you loved once that her eyes reminded you of the night sky but she wasn’t sure what you meant. You weren’t sure what you meant. Are you sure now?

Is there someone who loves you enough to have let you go easily? Is there someone who you will think about as the darkness breaks up the light around you? Will you think about the way it felt
.          when you found a rhythm in their body, felt the heat of their skin on yours, and they said your name over and over and over.

Did you tell anyone about the nightmare you had where you walked out into a field, towards a dying tree in the center, and the closer you got the more you heard someone calling your name? Is that what this reminds you of most? Are you scared?

Does time stop? Does sound stop? Does everything just stop?
        A memory of your mother cooking, stirring something on the stove, and she turns to you and says “I thought you were your father for a second.”

Do you regret this pursuit of the sky? Are the stars so hungry they can hardly wait to taste you? Do you wish you’d stay with feet on Earth?

Is there someone you’ve left behind who will wake up and know somehow that you are gone? What would you want to tell them?

Would you say: I’m sorry? Would you say: I love you? Would you say: I’ll miss you? Would you say that it’s like:
        The time you were sledding with your brother, down a hill that you shouldn’t have been on. It was so tall and steep and the sled went so fast and you thought that this was a mistake, that you both would get hurt, would die, and then you slowed to a stop and found yourself still alive, still fine, and laughing you climbed back to the top.

Is it exactly like that?


Chloe N. Clark’s work appears in Booth, Glass, Uncanny, and more. She is co-EIC of Cotton Xenomorph and her tweets on cake, monsters, and puns can be found @PintsNCupcakes.