the last ww1 soldier
dear florence green, i tied my skull
to a pigeon today
& sent it to an old lover.
he will probably no know who it's from.
i don't know why i'm telling you this
but i discovered you on purpose.
i woke up with a need to know
the last surviving humans
of great wars & maybe that's not fair
to determine the width of someone's signficance
based on how long their past could follow them.
i haven't survived anything history-book-able.
or, maybe, it's just impossible
to see our lives as consequential.
do you care about being a woman?
about being the last woman alive
whose blood remembers
your particular battelfields?
would it be different, do you think,
if the last rememberer was a man?
i'm not sure, this is why i defer
to your judgement. i am lucky in many ways. i keep
all my battlefields in closets & notebooks.
once or twice in doctors waiting rooms
& toll booths. if i live to be 110,
no one will attach a world to me (i hope).
i think the past will always be
my greatest lover. i am eager
to replay a night from years & years ago.
hence my skull delivered by bird. hence my
lingering feelings for once-friends houses
i pass now in my parent's neighborhood.
tell me, has the meaning of the world
"plane" changed for you over time
or do you still see biplanes when
i say the word to you? when i say "lover"
i cannot picture one person. i can only
see a staircase & a windowsill
& a set of keys on a dining room table.
what i'm asking is, should we
move on or should we always
double back? florence, what did you tell
your husband in the cool dusk?
what did you recount & what image
did you save for yourself?
i am prone to slipping finger bones
into envelopes with no return address.
i won't write to you again. i know
you want to sleep now & so do i
but if you have the moment. send
telegraph or phonecall or letter.
answer me however you know how.
it could even be just a photograph.