TORTOISE PRACTICES HIS LAST BREATH
by John Madian
Rabbit was in his good morning
tell myself a good goofy story mood
as he hopped up the path
to see Frog and Toad
So he was especially happy when he
came around Big Bend and saw Tortoise
Oh the glory!
What a happy good morning story
I’m telling myself
to see my 3 best friends
in one morning! sang Rabbit
But Tortoise didn’t sing back
Rabbit stopped, listened, watched
Then Rabbit walked slowly
Tortoise, why aren’t you saying hello?
Tortoise took another long slow breath
Tortoise you’re breathing funny
Tortoise didn’t answer
Tortoise, are you dying?
Rabbit asked anxiously
No, not dying yet
What are you doing?
Practicing taking my last breath
Is that something I should practice?
No Rabbit, not yet, you’re young
You’re still celebrating your first breath
and each new breath after
that brings you new adventures
but I’m old as stones and dinosaur bones
and each breath brings me
closer to my last.
Does that scare you?
Sometimes, but mostly I’m practicing
to make my last breath
the best breath I’ll ever take
How do you practice?
What do you imagine?
I take a deep breath
and as I let my deep breath out
I imagine I’ll not take another
That sounds scary
It was at first,
now it’s become rather fun
Fun? What do you mean fun!
Fun because as I let my breath out
I imagine morning meadow
bright with light
and bright rainbows smiling
in glistening dew drops
And that makes you happy
to take your last breath?
it’s so beautiful,
Do you do anything else
in your imagining?
Yes, in my heart I say thank you
for all the wonderful times I’ve had
Thank you, River,
Fish, and Old Oak
Thank you for the forever new
seed and flower song
that the earth is always
protecting and giving birth to
And especially thank you
for my parents,
and for you, Rabbit,
my special best friend,
who let me win the race
I didn’t really let you win, said Rabbit.
I know, but that’s how
I like to imagine it, smiled Tortoise
Then Tortoise took an especially deep breath
smiled and let it out ever so slowly
Are you dying now?
No, but I’m liking the idea of dying
better today than I did yesterday
Well, I’m liking the idea
of not dying even more
So please, Tortoise, come along
Let’s visit Frog and Toad together
That sounds very nice, agreed Tortoise
While today is a very good day for dying
It’s even a better day to play with our best friends!
© Copyright 2020 by Jon Madian
All rights reserved.