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‘The Emptiness of Things’

I pour you into notebooks,
stacking them on my nightstand
next to the clock, candle, matches–
hoping the emptiness of things
will rub off on you.

Ripping out pages, I burn them one by one,
only to discover you’ve settled in corners
and on dishes and found your way
into the spines of books.

Across the table from a picture
of you, with your hair a scattered pile of leaves
and twigs, and your mouth a smooth black stone,
I sit waiting for the wind to change, for rain.

I’m left with only the things you’ve touched.
“For better or worse,
‘til death do us part,” I whisper
to the restless clock, and to the nightstand
who listens like a witness.

Jennifer Smat resides in Northern California. She works as a yoga and Pilates instructor, a store clerk, and a seamstress. She has dreams of a graduate degree in poetry.

“This poem came out of Kate Potts’ course, Word Power: Poetry and Ritual. The poem plays with the ways in which a person continues to exist in our lives by virtue of their past significance. Does the spirit of someone linger only in our consciousness or might it settle more tangibly into the space around us, even taking up residence in seemingly empty, mundane objects? I hoped to suggest the feeling of futility often associated with attempting to move on.”


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