Exit, Stage Left – by Robert Penick

My mad sprint across so many calendars
will end one day. Likely I will see it
coming from kilometers away:
The fall to the worn carpet,
ragged breathing,
staring at a fixed point until
it collapses like a star and disappears.

I will go out with a schoolboy’s smirk
upon my face, knowing the birds
will chirp and carry on each spring
and the great wheel of pain
will roll on without my frail shoulder
guiding it. Hearts will beat
bright as cardinals while
big monster life stamps in circles
and I lay vacant
in the grave.


The work of Robert L. Penick has appeared in over 100 different literary journals, including The Hudson Review, North American Review, and Plainsongs. He lives in Louisville, KY, USA, with his free-range box turtle, Sheldon, and edits Ristau, a tiny literary annual. More of his writing can be found at www.theartofmercy.net