The Last

The last human alive
Is not strong
She has broken ribs and tattered lungs
Her heart a frightened beast of sinew and valves
Palpitating wildly within its snapped and misshapen cell
She cries for hours, days, weeks
The tears unending as she eats, drinks, breathes
Goes through the motions without feeling
The last human alive
Is not brave
She is cowardice incarnate
Curled up on her side as the wind whips and howls
Shaking like the leaves that dance high above the corpses mottling the earth
She wants to spit curses into the wind, grab whatever god is watching by its shoulders and shake it
Instead the tears trek down the riverbeds of her cheeks
The last human alive
Is not wanting
She steps carelessly over upturned palms and gaping mouths
Howling silently at the milky sky
She kicks torsos as if they are driftwood
Turns over tiny bodies as if nothing more than stones hiding gems
She finds knives and rope, electronics and paper that have no use to her
But, once upon a time, meant so much
Was worth sacrificing her limited seconds in a bustling world full of greed and self interest
She reaches into a grimy pocket, pulls forth a crushed package of cigarettes
She still indulges those cravings
The last human alive
Is not lonely
She finds a man slumped against the subway walls
A brown leather square clasped tightly to his still chest
She pulls his fingers away, searching
And finds a treasure trove within
She tucks away the wallet
Tosses the useless money
But pauses as her fingers brush a photograph
Yellowed with age and ringed with watery stains
Two children and a woman smile up at her
Their faces whole
Their eyes bright and sunny and alive in their paper confine
She places the photo into her breast pocket and returns to her scavenging
The last human alive
Is regretting
She was stupid, so stupid
Taking such a huge risk with such little chance of reward was foolish from the start
She knew the cliff face would not hold
She knew that it could spell her demise
But thought that, maybe if she left this godforsaken town, she could find someone, anyone to live for
She often caught herself daydreaming of a faceless, voiceless presence beside her, warm and steady
Another to fall back on, to provide companionship, to urge her to keep going
That thought had tugged her forward, begging, yearning, wanting
And she reached the top, saw the world beyond her
Began a hasty, frantic descent
In her haste she was rushing, slipping,
The last human alive
Is dying
At the bottom of a cliff opposite the valley she had ascended from
She tries to turn her head but is met with resistance
She powers through
She is strong
She is brave
Her neck is stiff as she hears her cropped hair pull through the gravel
Her cheek kisses a warm rusty puddle
Her eyelids flutter closed and she sighs
Hand slowly reaching for the photo nestled beside her heart
She will no longer be lonely
The last human alive
Takes one last breath of sweet air
At the bottom of a ravine
Ringed in red, like poppies in the sunlight
She smiles
Wanting nothing
Knowing that humanity ends with her


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