Photography © Edward S. Gault


Past Due
          —to T.J. in Egypt

You are hidden beneath calendars, coffee
cups, torn pants
my desk has grown large
beyond floor boxed books Japanese
lessons students staring from envelopes.
I have covered tomorrows with tomorrow’s
tomorrows having been sacrificed for
todays—the be’s I’ve reached tentatively
one arm still too comfortable around
the old world vision of calculations
toward the carrot.
So the news grows.
Still the juvenile beast of beginnings breathing
over the shoulder, larger with each day
night day night
desk lamp sneering above blank pages
scribbled notes to do to ask to be to think
windowed stares still breathing hardly heavily
to the clocks movement, to the graying evening’s
movement, to the reflections—hollow, vacant, ghosted
in the glass.


Tom Laughlin is hiker, pond swimmer, stone balancer, and has taught literature in two Massachusetts prisons. His poetry chapbook, The Rest of the Way, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2022.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine arts photographer living in Brighton, Massachusetts. His work has appeared in Oddball Magazine, Spectrum, Wilderness House Literary Review, Interlude, Currents, and Encore.