Last Privacy

Ancient kites, found in deserts 
of the Middle East, are constructions 

aimed at driving and trapping 
game animals. They consist 

of long dry stone walls 
converging on a neck 

which opens into a confined space 
used as the killing floor. 

The last night, unknowingly 
I lovingly effervesced the long catalog 

of my admirations for you into 
your ear. Hammer strike 

anvil. The last morning, 
I studied you sitting 

quietly studying the water 
in the toilet bowl. I brushed 

your hair. Gave you a kiss. 
Told you, “I love you.” Minutes later, 

we walked outside our door the final time,
rode the elevator down together. Crossed

the lobby and vestibule, out the front door
onto the wide sidewalk of our building. 

All the while, unaware of the drive. 
Your last moments under a bluebird sky.

Your last moment standing
at the end of the fatal kite.


Copyright © 2022 by Scott Hightower. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 13, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“Loss and grief can be consuming things. But those who survive loss do not lose their practice. ‘Last Privacy’ is from the manuscript Imperative to Spare (Rebel Santori Press, 2023), which begins with an epigraph by Gabriel García Marquez: ‘Eventually everything happens. I have seen, with some patience, the unforgettable become forgotten, and the imperative to spare.’”
Scott Hightower