The story began one night in the dark
when most curious minds were asleep.
Sitting silently, only fingers tapping the keys,
“You tempted me like an empty page,” he wrote,
longing for a response of immediacy
that would fill his mind with more words,
the only thing he took comfort in.
She stepped aside from the voices
at her gathering to read his message.
“Emptiness,” she wrote back, “lives in the mind,
the habit of looking for what’s lost.
There is no zero in nature.
Let me tempt you with fullness instead.
Come and see what I see, and share what is there.”
As she sent the message, she swallowed deeply
knowing that what she offered was not quite a lie
but more of an unfulfilled desire.
“I can give you what I never had,” she thought.
Her mind wandered, filling
with all the ways that only emptiness can.
He wasn’t sure what she was offering him.
Whatever it was, he longed for it.
Her words flooded him with a feeling he couldn’t name.
Love? Desire? Intoxication? Yes.
As the sun rose, he took no notice of fatigue, thirst, hunger.
He forgot the empty days,
the time spent looking in the mirror,
counting the lost years.
He began again to write.
A collaboration with my friend Candace Smith.