End of the Line


It’s the last day of the year,

The final hour of your life,

The end of the line.

We’re huddled around your bed,

Waiting for you to expire—

Issue the ultimate decree,

Or a death rattle, at least.

But you have nothing to declare:

No duty, no tariff, no wisdom,

For an occasion like this.

You think it’s fitting,

Simply to remain silent,

Keep the secret you’ve harbored,

Even from your closest friends,

And just let it pass,

Sliding deeper into sleep.

If there is another space,

A place where you could be absolved,

Perhaps, you’d consider a revelation—

Undoing what’s been done.


Bart Edelman’s poetry collections include Crossing the Hackensack (Prometheus Press), Under Damaris’ Dress (Lightning Publications), The Alphabet of Love (Ren Hen Press), The Gentle Man (Ren Hen Press), The Last Mojito (Ren Hen Press), The Geographer’s Wife (Ren Hen Press), Whistling to Trick the Wind (Meadowlark Press)and This Body Is Never at Rest: New and Selected Poems 1993 – 2023 (Meadowlark Press).  He has taught at Glendale College, where he edited Eclipse, a literary journal, and, most recently, in the MFA program at Antioch University, Los Angeles.  His work has been widely anthologized in textbooks published by City Lights Books, Etruscan Press, Fountainhead Press, Harcourt Brace, Longman, McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Thomson/Heinle, the University of Iowa Press, Wadsworth, and others. He lives in Pasadena, California.