June 26, 2046, Evansville Courier & Press
I, Mark Williams, a resident of Evansville, Indiana, died
two days ago of expected causes on my birthday. My 95th.
Hoping to enter Heaven, Paradise, Moksha, or Nirvana—
Sanskrit for blown out—that very day,
I wrote this, years before.
Life is good, at least for me. I love DeeGee.
She loves me. We love our dogs, our cats, our evenings
scrunched together on our couch. And hopefully,
by putting this into the cosmos, my chances
of reaching ninety-five will be increased—because,
for all anyone knows, it works that way. But also,
after considering my grandma Mabel’s lament to my dad,
“Oh, Paul, I feel like I’m a hundred years old,”
and my dad’s reply, “Well, mother, you are ninety-eight,”
ninety-five is plenty, for as Mark Twain wrote, Lord,
save us from old age, broken health, and a hope tree
that has lost its faculty of putting out blossoms. So,
by putting this out there, I’ll blow out at ninety-five.
Since it might work that way, too. But in case
THE DAY arrives, I don’t blow out,
and my hope tree is still blossoming,
I’ll be so afraid of dying that day, I’ll die that day
and remove the certainty of becoming
a hope tree that can no longer blossom. Like being
on a low carb diet and going to Starbucks with The Cosmos
and saying, “Don’t let me get the iced lemon pound cake.”
But when The Cosmos turns its big head, I order it anyway,
only to have The Cosmos yank it from my hands. Still,
after comparing life past ninety-five to a piece of cake,
I thought about trashing this. To Hell, The Bardo,
The Chinvat Bridge, or Samsara with the carbs.
But by then, this was out there.
There was nothing I could do.
Memorial service to be held at any time
with anyone at the Starbucks nearest you.
Mark Williams’s poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Rattle, Nimrod, The Lake, New Ohio Review, and The American Journal of Poetry. Finishing Line Press published his poem ‘Happiness’ as a chapbook in 2015. He is alive in Evansville, Indiana.