A Poem on the Website of
the Red Dirt Writers Society

The Last Word
by Kim Burnham (Nov 2010)

In movies, the dying have great lines.
In life, not so much
The best final words of anyone I knew
Were those of my mothers’ uncle.

When his heart
Suddenly failed him
He said simply,
“Dang, I’m dead.”

That is the best we can hope for -
To get out one line
For most, our last breath will be a grunt or moan
Accompanied by bodily functions.

In death, there is no sting. But there isn’t much dignity either.
Maybe that is why we feel inclined
To have something on our headstone.

I could use the uncle’s line for this,
And have, “Dang, I’m dead,” on mine.
Or borrow from Rodney Dangerfield,
“There goes the neighborhood.”

But my personal favorite is:
“I told you I was sick.”
My wife and children know me
And would have no problem with it.

But it won’t work for my grandchildren.
Perhaps then, something upbeat like,
“I’m either in heaven
Or this is the best nap ever.”

Still, the modern way
Is to go interactive
So I think I’ll have the chisel inscribe
“Here lies a man who loved _______.”

Then each and every one that comes
To that place to remember
May fill the empty space upon the polished stone With their own name.

Site Map

HOME           ShortStories           Essays           Poems         Websites      

Meetings         Comments         ContactUs         Members

This is the website of the Red Dirt Writers Society.
Revised November 2010.