The Last King

I am old, withered, shrunken; I mumble when I talk.

You have to lift me in and out of bed, dress me, feed me.

I am like an infant, I even wear a diaper.

I am so old that I am past humiliation.

I have seen things and done things.

Things that seem like they were in a different life.

Now I’m old; I have spent my breath.

I have given all my kisses of passion.

I had a sling when I was a boy.

I didn’t last long as a slinger of death.

It was the death convulsions that stopped me, shocked me, haunted me.

Spasms of pain as life fled their bodies; twitching, suffering, regretting.

Killing by hand, personal, brutal.

I think about Snorri, about his killing, personal and brutal.

Even though there was no King of Iceland, he is like the Last one.

I will join him soon, killed by the simple passage of time.

I see him in the other universe.

I am so old that my bones don’t work.

I can’t lift my hand to scratch myself, I slobber like an infant.

How did this happen so fast, how did this happen to me?

I wasn’t ready, I didn’t see it coming and now I am trapped in this useless shell,

like Snorri was trapped as he tried to escape the axe that struck him twice,

even though he begged.

I beg.

They feed me medicine that makes me sleep.

I sleep so long that I am like a living corpse, wasting my last few days.

I will go there soon enough.

I will become the wind and shadow, growing, ever growing,

so large that I cover everything, so large, that I cannot be seen,

just as if I do not exist at all.

I will be the universe when I am dead.

When I dream, my life for eighty years, I miss the people that were in it.

I see them in my dream, I talk with my dead daughter

and all those creatures that did the bullet dance for me.

I want to weep for them that I have wronged; my bones are so frozen

I cannot even wipe my own tears.

How much better it would have been to go young, in blazing glory and fame.

How much better it is to go old, having made so many memories,

having loved so many people.

Having had them love me.

Will those memories, all that was me, fall like rain into the universe,

when I am gone?

Snorri was my grandfather, 20 generations before this time,

I have his seed inside me; his memory lives inside my cells.

When I sleep I see the axe descend upon our skull;

I see the axe usurp our crown.

We are the Last King of Iceland.

A ring around the Sun.

There will be no more like us.

The long sleep comes.

We don’t expect to die unless we linger with the plague of cancer.

We are always in the middle of something until we hear the last tick of the clock,

then nothing more.

Don’t be sad for me.

I’ve had the greatest fortune to have been a living thing,

to have beat out all the other sperms that raced with me,

to have been on this rocky ball in space that itself is a miracle of existence,

to have been a Sapien.

And though I have only been a speck in time,

I have been, and known that I have been.

I am grateful to have lived; I am grateful to have known you,

even if we never met.

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