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To whoever killed the last black rhinoceros,


I hope the trophy looks nice on your wall.

I hope the glass eyes don’t follow you when you pass.

I hope they don’t haunt you when you sleep.


Does the end of a universe fill you with pride?

Do you find satisfaction in the death of a star?


I suppose the empty night doesn’t bother you.

The void is too subtle for you to comprehend.

In a vast sky, who would notice a single missing light?


Imagine celebrating the irreversible.

Imagine smiling at destruction.

The fragility of our finite world must escape you. 

Or perhaps you draw power from the act of silencing.


Did you hesitate before you pulled the trigger?

Did a cold millisecond hold you back?

I imagine you didn’t flinch at the recoil. Perhaps you didn’t even blink.


When you sink into your leather couch and rest your feet on the coffee table,

When you flip the tab on your beer can and cycle through television channels,

I hope you know what you’ve done.


I’m certain you don’t.


Beings die every day.

Lives are lost in silence.


But imagine being the last of your kind.

The weight of history is equal to that of a grain of sand when shared between eight billion individuals.

Imagine carrying the memory of your entire species on your back.


Last is beyond the reach of your mind and centered in the scope of your rifle.

Last is a tragedy above language.

The soul cannot fathom last. The mouth cannot form the sounds to convey the depth of last.


Do you even know it was you?


While you snore in your drunken slumber, I hope the trophy on your wall vanishes.

I hope the glass eyes thud onto the floor and roll into some dark corner where you’ll never find them.

I hope they follow you when you pass.

I hope they haunt you when you sleep.


And I hope you hear the thunder of last when you stare at the empty space where the head of the last black rhinoceros once hung.

©Kaylee Schuler

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