Letter from the Last Man on Earth

I suppose I should have written sooner, but, if you will forgive me, it seemed rather pointless, in that you don�t exist. And yet I�d be lying if I didn�t say I�ve been thinking about you for weeks now, despite not knowing who you are, what you look like, or whether you�re a man, woman, or child. But I love you anyway. Let�s start with that bit of superfluous information. I love you. With any luck, it will make the rest of what I have to say easier to accept and understand. If I didn�t love you, I wouldn�t be writing you this letter. I would be reading what�s left of the few books I have that weren�t destroyed during the last conflagration, or strumming my lyre, or looking out upon the vast wasteland this planet has become, hoping to see a rainbow or a waterfall.

It is very strange to be this alone. It has been years since I�ve encountered a living soul. And while I haven�t walked everywhere in the world, I have verified my aloneness by walking thousands of miles in each direction. My knocks on doors of roofless hovels have all gone unanswered. The towns and cities I have happened upon literally howl with silence. The destruction has been that complete. Judging by the rancid color of the sky and what is in it, I imagine the entire globe torn from its moorings and drifting aimlessly through space, its dark oceans foaming in anger like a raging wound. The clouds are not clouds, but congealed chemical blotches that reek as they drift by. When it does rain, it is in the form of toxic metal pellets striking the earth.

I do find it odd that I�m still alive. I can�t explain it. I don�t eat, drink, or sleep. In the beginning I was afraid, because I expected to be desperately hungry. When I realized I had no appetite or thirst, I was even more afraid, because I assumed it meant my body was shutting down and I was near death. Then, little by little, the fear began to melt away. Since then, I have lost very little weight, and I feel healthy and strong. Obviously, something drastic happened to me that I don�t understand. Why it didn�t happen to others is a mystery. Or maybe it did, but in degrees insufficient to ensure their survival. By the same token, I am not completely sure I have survived. I look and feel solid enough. But what if I�m a figment of my own imagination, or of someone else�s imagination? And even if I am alive in the conventional, breathing sense, who�s to say that it won�t all be over in the very next moment? Whatever is keeping me alive might suddenly turn lethal.

Now, a few words are in order about what led up to our final destruction: I wish I knew what caused it. I don�t know whether it came from without or within. Possibly it was both. Collectively, our minds had grown so unstable that many strange and unpredictable things were happening. Even the most commonplace objects seemed to be supercharged with thought. Matter was volatile. Rocks exploded, trees wept, rivers stood on their hind legs and walked. So it could be that we were the direct cause. Or it might be the opposite, and that the earth finally retaliated against our ignorance and decided to save itself. A cosmic hiccup, perhaps? A bored god playing with matches? It could be any or all of these things. I feel certain I will never find out.

There are other questions I ask myself: What would I do if I met another human being? Is there somewhere another survivor, like me? What if she�s a woman? Would we feel obliged to start the human race all over again? It�s an intriguing thought. And what if it�s a man? Would we play chess and invent a new philosophy, just in case an alien race needed guidance later on? Also, what if I am an alien? What if we were all aliens to begin with, a race of beings stranded here long ago, a failed intergalactic experiment carried out upon an oversized carbon-based slide beneath the watchful fingertips of life-forms so large that we mistook them for the sun and wind and rain? Or maybe the experiment was a big success, and these colossal beings found out everything they wanted or needed to know, and then merely tossed away the slide and swept the floor of their laboratory. Or maybe the experiment has entered a whole new phase, and is finally proving to be interesting. I might be the entire focus now: �Ah � why isn�t he dead? Fascinating. I must write this down.�

As you can see, there are more questions than answers. It seems, though, that I have ample time to ponder them, because I need do no work in order to survive. I am not hungry. I am not cold. Shelter is rarely necessary. Though I still remember the date of my birth, I feel as if I have been alive forever, and that I will go on living forever. Am I in heaven? Hell? Is this an afterlife, or one that came before? These are fascinating questions, and I love thinking about them. The only thing missing is someone to share them with.

September 3, 2005

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Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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