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Lexington Poetry Month
At the Close
article by
Joseph Allen Nichols

The last hours of the last day.
The pages turn and the story folds.


I was told, once, that the mark
of a fine writer, of a finer story,
is how you wish for it to go on
when you reach the end.

The lights have been dimmed.
The sheets have been lowered.
Your head presses pillows,
fighting the inevitable


Sometimes you can see the ending
before it’s ever begun.  Sometimes
the story is worth the risk
of those darker hours
of the night,


One of your first lines read,
“Don’t write the story.”  We knew
even then.  You knew.  I knew
I would try to follow your rules;
I did.  That one.  For the most part.

The paragraph closed, with this:
“Don’t fall in love.”  I never
saw you coming.  I never
stood a chance.


Some settings recall more
than description, more than a place
you’ve been.  Some settings aren’t
just like — some settings are —


Sometimes you can see the ending
before it’s begun.  Sometimes
it really is the end.


But first, you have to turn the page.
First, the entire story turns, folds
into the last hours of the last day.

12 responses to “At the Close”

  1. Joseph Allen Nichols says:

    * credit to Mrs. Osborne and her, best of, advice. *

  2. Edelweiss Meadows-Millstone says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Well done, as usual!

    • Joseph Allen Nichols says:

      Thank you, Edelweiss. Your comments have meant the world to me this month (and I’ve enjoyed your pieces as well).

  3. Philip Corley says:

    The honesty resonates. Didn’t seem easy to write, but we come here to challenge ourselves, both in production and what we are willing to put of ourselves out into the public sphere. Thank you for sharing

    • Joseph Allen Nichols says:

      Thank you, Philip.
      It never is, sir. But at least we have this medium, forever a blessing, to process, no?

      Thank you for reading. Glad we got the chance to become friends, sir.

  4. Dennis Preston says:

    Joseph – Though I’ve only commented on a few of your poems, I have truly enjoyed reading your body of work. Thank you for sharing a part of you! God Bless!

    • Joseph Allen Nichols says:

      Thank you, sir. I feel the same way aboit you and a number of others. Haven’t gotten to comment as much as I would have liked this year. But it’s been a particularly strong year, even for those poets I always am amazed by. Thank you for your reads

  5. Jim Lally says:

    i hardly ever see the ending before it’s begun.
    good reading on thursday
    great poetry all month
    it’s your future

    • Joseph Allen Nichols says:

      Thank you, Mr. Lally!
      Yours have been strong, as ever.
      And your final comment made my day, sir

  6. Edelweiss Meadows-Millstone says:

    I keep coming back to this poem–I think that’s a sure sign of its greatness!

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