The Last Thing

Our daughter had a ninth grader who informed her that he was a cowboy. Each class he would sidle up to her, thumbs hitched into his belt loops, and in a cowboy drawl ask, “Well, Ms. Ridl, what we gonna draw tahday?”

Yes. What are we gonna draw tahday?

The Last Thing

That’s Jesus with the head of a tuna
sailing on His cross, over the roofs,
over villagers going to market, fixing
their cars, making soup, taking
their medicine or watching each other

on TV. See how the clouds hang
there around Him? He loves that. He
even tosses dice inside them to make
it rain. Sometimes He just lies back,
like here in this one, and lets everything

alone. He knows so long as He’s here
on this cross, everyone will let Him be.
He loves how they had Him rise
and come for dinner. See, here in
this one how He’s having some chocolate

cake? Outside, leaning against the front
of the house is His cross. See the dog
licking its paw? And the half moon with
Jesus sitting on it? Last night
I started a new painting. I

really like all the cows in this one.
I like that green sky and that little
girl pulling the wagon of doll’s heads.
And I like the old guy sitting on that
fish. That was the last thing I put in.

–Jack Ridl

First published in The Journal–Ohio State University
Published in Broken Symmetry (Wayne State University Press)


Upcoming Events–

June 22: Writing workshop at Ox-Bow. It might be open to more participants. And they may build a waiting list, so contact them and add your name in case someone drops. Be sure to check out all the classes at Ox-Bow here. They are a delight, especially because you learn without any pressure to achieve.

July 25: The Michigan Authors Workshop sponsored by Saginaw Valley State University. Arts Center in Midland. Writing workshop in the afternoon. A reading that evening.
Contact is Helen M. Raica-Klotz
Go to the website for a list of all the events over the several days and for registration information.

August 13, 6-8pm: Sixth Annual Reading at The Red Dock with D.L. James and Mark Hiskes, 219 N. Union Street, Douglas, MI,  6pm. Music mid-afternoon!

August 20, 7p.m.: Reading with Greg Rappleye at The Book Nook & Java Shop, 8744 Ferry Street in Montague. The place itself is worth being in–so comfy and welcoming with fine eats and of course Java!


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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, The Book Nook in Saugatuck, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

6 thoughts on “The Last Thing

    • Deb! So good to hear from you and hope
      you are doing well. And am sooooo glad
      to know that you love this poem!!!!

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