The Toast

smoke IIThe clinking of glasses as she clears tables will be what she remembers most clearly. Bell-like, clear, almost happy. She will take home her dirty apron, shower the scent of service off of her skin, finish the crossword half-done on her morning commute, and pour a glass of port. Winter frost nearly thawed, she will hear crickets, smile, and quickly forget their chirping. She will sleep for three hours and twenty-seven minutes before the choking smoke wakens her and the firemen help her out. She will stand, mute, in charred nightdress, and recall the last toast to her old life.


Heather Bourbeau wrote the poetry collection Daily Palm Castings, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and won the Pisk! Poetry Slam. Her journalism has appeared in The Economist, The Financial Times, and Foreign Affairs. She appreciates brevity.

Photo credit: Paul Bence


4 Responses to “The Toast”

  1. Natalie says:

    Beautifully done.

  2. Peter Bullen says:

    Exquisite. Loved it. Talk about the arc of a lifetime in so few words!

  3. andy says:

    loved this.

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