no emptiness


If There Were No Emptiness
Margaret Atwood

If there were no emptiness, there would be no life.
Think about it.
All those electrons, particles, and whatnot
crammed in next to each other like junk in an attic,
like trash in a compactor
smashed together in a flat block
so there’s nothing but plasma:
no you no me.

Therefore I praise vacancy.
Vacant lots with their blowing plastics and teasels,
vacant houses, their furze of dust,
vacant stares, blue as the sky through windows.
Motels with the word Vacancy
flashing outside, a red neon arrow pointing,

pointing at the path to be taken
to the bored front desk, to the key-shaped key
on the dangling brown leather key holder,

the key that opens the vacant room
with its scored linoleum floor a blear-eyed yellow
its flowery couch and wilted cushions
its swaybacked bed, smelling of bleach and mildew
its stuttering radio
its ashtray that was here
seventy years ago.

That room has been static for me so long:
an emptiness a void a silence
containing an unheard story
ready for me to unlock.

Let there be plot.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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