Last Things / Sufi Symposium 2012


The last rhinoceros might look around and
wonder where its beautiful beady-eyed

brothers and sisters went

The last waterfall might slide its
last cascade down the usual

rocks and feel strange

The last wheeling bird so used to
wheeling within other wheeling birds’

orbits against wandering clouds —

The last wandering cloud might wonder why
only one shadow is crossing the

earth below

Last things amounting to all the things that ever
went before

last movements shuddering into a
final stillness and a

final stillness hovering in its solitude a
moment before shivering away

We wonder whose eyes are
looking into ours for the last time

whose voice not heard up close but
neither too far away echoing faintly

whose face we gaze into before it
sets like the last sun with all its

energy drained

And then the Prophet’s light and its
prophetic treasury whose

ocean-beats billow behind all vanishing things

and the ache of a planet out in
space at a dark edge with endlessness

alone among last things

when even all creation was a cure
for God’s lordly loneliness

— and the last flickering gnat aloft in a beam of light

and the beam of light itself
lost in the Lord’s bright Eye


Will we take everything by the hand and
help it through the last door?

When we boarded the plane the smiling
purser asked if San Francisco was our

final destination
of course I couldn’t help myself and said

“I hope not —
God is”

And he strangely said
“I’m already there!”

Maybe he’s too busy to ask him what he

rushing back and forth down the narrow
aisle bringing tea

or maybe so much flying through the air
has finally gotten him there —

We churn through the night going through
last door after last door in space

each person of us on this plane a
world abuzz with its curious proclamations

and my sense of lastness always so acute
this far off the ground

through door after door in the

Each of them God’s door
open for the first time

then vanishing away

3/14/2012 (from The Match That Becomes a Conflagration, unpublished)

Categories: Poems, The Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa sallam), Death, Love