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.
“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.’”