Last Day

- jan-u-wine

He can't. 
 
No.
 
Not any more.
 
A sole thought,
stumbling
 
in the growing darkness,
stuttering
 
like his feet upon the
broken rock,
 
like the breath it hurt to draw,
like the pain that came and went,
 
like the grey mist of wanting
shadows,
 
advancing and retreating,
brand-hot,
 
cold as sheen'd death,
but surely not as welcome.
 
And he imagines he hears
water,
 
trickling,
 
though he does not know
longer
 
what that might be.
 
Only........
 
his mouth opens at the sound
and
 
a noise
which might have been
 
"please"
tears at his throat,
 
trickles red lacings from his lips.
 
Only yesterday
 
(though now yesterday,
 
today,
tomorrow,
might as well be but one
 
for all he knows),
 
only yesterday
he still remembered who he was
 
and where
 
and
why.
 
Yesterday,
the clothes he wore
 
chafed him,
body and mind,
 
with crawling filth.

Yesterday,
if he could but recall now,
 
some small pain
(for small it was, among all the others)
 
reminded him,
sharp as a tooth,
 
that,
wealth of water or no,
 
still
he must needs relieve himself.
 
And finds, shamedly,
that he already has,
 
scant dark moisture
trailing without note
 
down raw thighs,
legs grimed with worse than
this simple fluid.
 
And that small feeling,
the last in a vast land
of others,
 
is enough to send him
tumbling away from himself,
 
eyes shut
against flame-clouded night.
 
He can stand,
upon the morrow,
 
stand and move
 
step
and
step
 
and step
again.
 
 
And so he does,
the small voice
 
that whispers
'can't'
 
stilled at last
beneath a burden of gold.