Hour Four, Last Line of a Book

Terminal Case

I should buy two dozen raised garden beds,
gravel, dirt, and mulch, seeds, potting soil, and fertilizer,
and build a green house in the back yard,
plant fruit trees, berry bushes, and vines,
and learn to can and preserve it all,
in case the grocery stores all run out.

I should convert all our jars of spare change,
the crumpled dollar bills in car consoles,
and the kids’ birthday card checks
into precious metals and bitcoins,
and stash them all in backyard and digital holes,
in case the economy pops.

I should collect all our rainwater
in barrels and tubs
and filter it through sieves,
treat it with chlorine
and store it in the basement,
in case public water is no longer clean.

I should have the roof of the house removed,
send Elon Musk’s kids to college
with the loans I’ll take out for solar panel roof tiles,
buy a woodstove and cords of wood,
and install a grill and outdoor firepit,
in case an EMP blast takes out all power.

I should buy and install a new shed
and seal it against the weather,
buy sturdy shelving for it
and fill them with a year of food,
toilet paper, and wet wipes,
in case the food chain gets disrupted.

I should do all this and more,
make myself crazier with each article I read,
each news story I hear,
for the end is nigh, after all.
I could, I would, I should,
world without end, amen,
until I take down a book,
take a step back,
take a deep breath,
read, and remember:

*”But in the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases.”

*The World According to Garp, by John Irving

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