Heaven

By William Heyen

Henry Thoreau’s last words: “Moose … Indian.”
Joe DiMaggio’s: “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn.”

Henry died never having gone to bed with a woman.
Joe enjoyed dozens, but in the end loved only one,

& believed that after he’d signed his last ball or bat,
he’d find her waiting in Yankee Stadium in starlight.

Henry died younger, & wasn’t sure about the out-there,
except it sounded transcendentally beautiful, whether

or not it was cognizant of him or was just a cowbell
thunking in the mind of the great Oversoul,

but if it at least proved amenable
to hounds, bay horses, turtledoves, what the hell.

Maybe Henry is in Joe’s penthouse, Joe in Henry’s cabin,
maybe Joe is writing books, Henry hugging Marilyn,

maybe Henry is hitting homers, & Joe is fishing Walden,
maybe Joe & Hank are pals, & Marilyn ecstatic with Emerson.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/07/heaven/307507/