Death of the Last Hero


The horror of being the last survivor

     in the loneliness of the long wait!

First there was the thrift shop squad of 8,

     on a shelf, with thin lips poised,

     standing on cobalt blue stems straight and tall.

Eight standing at battle ready attention.

Ready to give life for the purple joy,

     and when the war of attrition began,

     they stood their ground.

Paper-thin fire finished lips,

withstood the first good luck salute,

with a click of their own.

The first to die went to death in the dishwasher;

autopsy said he was too thin for battle.

Next was a crash from a slumbering hand;

red wine blood among the fragments.

Number three died with an elbow to the throat;

his shards picked up with salty tears,

blue stem still in tact.

In the third month of battle

black cat Raton did in number four;

the last drop of zin looked

too good for her not to try.

And in the fall when the 49ers scored,

five and six mingled their parts on the floor,

among the salami and chips;

their fragile bodies with straight blue stems,

in this the largest day of the battle casualties.

Sergeant Seven lasted until spring

when he was crushed in a picnic basket,

tossed on the ground in holiday exuberance.

Then only Lieutenant Eight remained;

honored, he was shelved high and safe,

gathering dust and a thirst for zin. 

After a year of leave,

a call to serve again?

The last hero proudly jumped to lips

and gave the palate a treat.

If he knew in his heart that he was also doomed,

he showed it not.

He lasted and lasted until that fatal day.

Empty and proud of his daily drill,

he waited.

His warm shower and place of honor on the top shelf,

to be ready for yet one more day of service.

He was put down with a start when

an urgent phone was answered.

I hope Lieutenant Eight died thinking the call was for help.

Instead it was an uninvited invitation to spend a week free

to hear a sale pitch for a time-share.

What a terrible fate,

to have lived for years as the last surviving hero,

only to died for such a trivial annoyance.

Now somewhere there are other blue-stemmed glasses.

with fire finished lips sitting on a thrift shop shelf. 

It is time for a recruiting trip.


Published the "Yolo Crow" Spring 2009- Volume 13