Mudlark No. 58 (2015)

The Last Man on Earth Takes a Walk in Jupiter, Florida

It would happen on a day like any other in South Florida,
the projector in a revival-house movie theater looping
Treasure of the Sierra Madre or Errol Flynn in Captain Blood
because someone had hooked up a generator, pull-started it,
and finished off the last of the popcorn and Pepsi. Maybe
they’d buried the corpses or burned them and boarded up.
Maybe a tsunami of communicable disease had thinned
the unmanageable ranks over a period of years; a plague
that, in its final months, assumed withering proportions.
Nothing absurd about thinking of one freakish survivor
as the fly of hope not yet swatted dead. Maybe hostilities,
if it was a war, ran their course elsewhere, mercifully up-

or downwind, but the oceans died. Whatever happened,
we were warned that unintended consequences are a bitch.  
Now, as if the soul were a set of casual clothing from the Gap
laid out for a final outing in rain or fabulous sun, he stoops
to dress.  Returning to the world is a habit hard to break.
He readies himself to pass flood-deserted strip malls—
lines of solar-powered and pointless signage. This time,
he walks a service road to a park named for Burt Reynolds.
When he speaks, a voice knocks around in the seasonal
theater of the body. Resonates. Farther on, he glimpses
water finding track by the dead raised roots of date palms.
The snapping of a tarp on a dock nearby is benediction.

Roy Bentley | Dixie Highway
Contents | Mudlark No. 58 (2015)