That evening a selected few of

us entered the chambers to

which the Company had given

us invitations—the four square

rooms that together formed a

larger square, the walls and

floors and ceilings all richly

paneled with gleaming

mahogany, where we each

received a cigar such as

one gets to smoke only

once in a lifetime, or

never, tobacco so rare, so

expensive, all rolled into a

shape so perfect, so

exquisite, and we milled in

the rooms and smoked and

talked of how extraordinary

this experience was, watching

the glowing ash hold its

shape and grow at the ends of

our splendid cigars as

delicate wisps of delicious-

smelling smoke slowly curled

around us in the fine rooms, and

when at last only stubs

remained, we took our

leave, thanking the

Company, repeating over and

over how fortunate, how

privileged, we had been, we,

the select few.

Jerry George is a writer and editor in
East Machias, Maine. He has published
numerous poems in journals, magazines,
newspapers and anthologies. He has also
published a book, Imitations of
Indonesia and other poems. His verse
plays have been produced on stage and
radio. In 2010 he won the Donn
Goodwin Poetry Prize.
by Jerry George
Photo: Rebecca Curtis