He collects knives, coffee mugs,
antique bottles, and straight razors,
things hidden on crowded shelves
in junk shops and garage sales, things
you don’t find without investing time
and patience in dreary places with
cast-off history on public display.

His friends would say he fills his
house with trophies to distract
him from the empty photo
frames on the dresser and the
bare walls where pictures should go,
if he had friends who talk about him.

He collects acquaintances like they
were friends, keeping every conversation
tucked neatly in his memory for easy
access when he needs someone to
think about, someone to fill the
hole when he’s afraid of being
alone, spending time with someone
unworthy of the company of friends.

He carries sadness like
change in his pocket,
trying to fill his emptiness with
anything he can.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Emptiness

  1. Thanks, Holly.You’re very kind.

  2. Holly Forrest says:

    This feels like it should be set to music. Seriously. It has a lyrical quality that’s pretty haunting, reminiscent of Eleanor Rigby. Well done, JS.

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