Image taken from page 100 of 'A Stumble on the Threshold. (Second edition.)'


They sat up

after most of us nodded off or retired.

Voices rose in pitch or volume, fingers wagged, hands waved

over politics, religion, the past, the future, music, books.

Discourse raced unafraid

wherever a spark lit.



Ceramic ashtrays, butted against empty bottles and glasses,

overflowed onto the old wooden table-

itself covered in matches and lighters,

books and scraps of paper, a candle on a dish.

Smoke drifted through the room,

one of them opened a window.


There were smiles and nods when we appeared, groggy, short.

They laughed and made coffee.

We had breakfast later,

the ones who didn’t have to be anywhere that is.

Ashtrays and glasses were emptied.

Bottles and cans went in the big bin.

Papers were stuffed in pockets and books.

Books returned home to shelves and tables.


We hugged and left one by one.

or in groups of two or three,

assuming that we’d all return

to do it again real soon.


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