The moment of sorrow after finishing a novel

A Work of Fiction

As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow envel- oped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood a while in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently de- stroying me. How small it was, how brief. Brief, brief, but inside me now, which the stars could never be.                        Louise Glück (more here) 

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