The chairs remain stacked against the walls like cordwood.
The New England Chapter of Broken-Hearted Ghosts
meets here. Out of fear, the lights remain on all the
time. Hawthorne and Irving rotate the chairmanship.
The religious gather in cliques and bemoan their
purgatory. Unable to grasp the gavel,
the meeting can never be called to order. The
recent dead recant their lies and recriminations.
Among the former atheists, conversation
is muted. Many are lost in their own thoughts. The
specter of past meetings haunts the secretary’s
minutes. This endless meeting. This embrace of smoke