I Do Not Want to be the Last

 I do not want to be the last
To bear witness of my family’s past,
Lessons never learned,
The tragedy when love was weak,
Forgiveness always far away.

I do not want the memories
Still surviving from those years, so long ago….
They come as drifting smoke—
Some dark; some luminous and large as life.
But never do I turn my back, attempt to kill them off,
Live again another time the scenes, the smells,
The cries still echo in my ears,
Fresh tears roll down wrinkled cheeks,
Witness yet again old sins and painful indiscretions….
That is my only legacy
Worth the salt of memory.

One day the last survivor will be gone.
I hope it will not be me.
I cannot bear burden to be the last with memories,
Spoken and unspoken.
I pray it will not be me.
No one has stepped forward to hear,
To hold within marrow of bone the ancient stories,
Listening and becoming a witness in turn.
One day, the last survivor will be gone.
Last chapter written, book closed and put upon the shelf,
Its pages slowly turn moldy, then to dust.

Already, the silence I hear is deafening.
I question God’s silence, too….
I have that right, that duty to question.
I cannot hope; cannot conceive of
Life with or without God…
Such tragedy to bear within the flames—
Perhaps God will say, “Tell me.  Where were you?”
Where was the world, still blind, refusing to learn?
It could have been prevented— the hunger, the killing,
Burning of the flesh, rape of women—
I still remember blood flowing down my legs,
Survivor of a thousand cuts; and I was lucky.
Even now the memories come, walk the haunted halls at night.
It is happening again.  And again.
I do not want to be the last, to bear the memories,
To say we never learned.


One thought on “I Do Not Want to be the Last

  1. There is a small cemetery where I live that has quite a few of my relatives buried there including my parents and maternal grandparents. When I go to pay my respects, I stay awhile and remember their lives. I know that from this point on, I will also recall this post.

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