Patricia Nelson: “At the End”

At the End

If something still remains of me, and wakes
when earth or fire slides the animal away,
what then?

Do I dwindle in a smaller, thinner air?
Do I keep my memory of skin
where the new light touches me like wind?

Will the sky be white
with objects that move gently
as a fall of snow or pages, pleasing me?

Will there be colors and a sun?
Small birds on straight, dark, blooming lines,
eyes leveled, staring outward?

Or will I simply fall—one of many
shrieking in the light that chars
the sinners dropping in a shriveled sky?

Will I find the old myths true: Angels, judgment,
a black pit—and for a few the marvelous
blue light that widens upward like a hand?

The believers rising as if shaken out of sleep
in the pulsing sands of Heaven,
the strange colors beating everywhere.

And none of it mine. No tool. No sign.
No hill of words that I could make or rake away
to level the mistake of disbelief.


Patricia Nelson is a former attorney who has worked with the “Activist” group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a group of Neo Modernist poets. Her most recent book is Out of the Underworld, Poetic Matrix Press.

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