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Poems

Meeting in the Small Hours

15 February 2014

9:00 AM

15 February 2014

9:00 AM

He was there again in the small hours:
not this time in a dream, but in a dream
of dreaming. Even so the two of us
looked aside, stuck for something to discuss
that was not a matter of life and death,
so we fell back on football and the elections.

Then suddenly he started talking: talking
as he’d never talked in his life. He knew
it wasn’t wise to take up cigarettes again
at the wedding the day before; and driving back
the engine misfired once, or twice. And then
I started talking too. I told him about


two other recurrent dreams: the first that I
was smoking again too, but it was all right
because I knew I could give up. Stranger than that,
my twilight dream of the car headlights failing —
but that too was all right because I knew
they’d work again. Then his expression changed:

I watched him brush a small worm of ash
from his jacket. ‘Time to go back’, he said.
‘And I don’t know if I will get away again.’


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