Backwards Ghazal and Never Again

by Mary Crockett Hill

Last week, a boy at my boys’ school was beaten for 28 minutes.
The hallway empty except for a camera and the clock’s shifting eyes.

Last month, a girl at my boys’ school died in a way no one will talk about.
She wept the Friday before, arms cradling her smooth brown hair.

Last I spoke with my dead mother, I left the window cracked.
A bat flew in while we slept and swept cobwebs from the ceiling.

Last call is coming. Will you be ready, sir? Ma’am? Drink up!
Sure as cherry blossom—the drunk poet, lips opening…

Last night, last chance, last ditch, last dance, last word, last laugh,
last fling, last gasp, last hurdle, last hurrah, last leg, last straw.

Sky painted with a vastness we can’t quite believe—painfully blue,
immortal. Open that door, slowly, Mary… make it last.

MARY CROCKETT HILL is the author of A Theory of Everything, winner of the Autumn House Poetry Award, and If You Return Home with Food. In her other life as a children’s book writer, she is coauthor of Dream Boy and Why Are Turtles So Crazy Awesome? As a poet, Mary generally lays low, but her kidlit identity (Mary Crockett) can be found on Twitter, @MaryLovesBooks. She edits Roanoke Review.