'This is the last one', you say.
There's nothing as forlorn as a dead ashtray.
You nod.
So one more?
You nod.

I hate that end. I don't want the embers to die, I'd like to keep the cozy warmth as something that dissipates slowly, not something we have to banish abruptly.


Grey and lifeless, ashes and stubbed out butts, matches, dullness. No orange glow to redeem whatever remains of the night. No wisps of smoke. No alluring sinuous lines to trace with languid eyes. Just finality, the last smoke, and time to go to sleep.

It's worse in the morning.

Skin chilled with new air, you've got all the covers. Another gritty workday seeps in to my pores before I even roll over to press against your solid warmth and the dead ashtray sits overflowing on the floor. I can't leave it like that, cold.

I light up and leave the dancing smoke as the first thing you'll see when I'm gone.