Nothing is never nothing published in Setu

Nothing is never nothing

A message

written for a bottle with no ocean

The body atremble, the mouth a desert

Sirens so far away but still the jaws grind

Not even the dogs know what dogs always know

Hands thrust into what becomes a salivating mouth

Birds fall, frozen, from the sky to unyielding ground

Words without meaning

Ask the women, they all will tell you

An utterance shuts out objective meaning

Oxygen sucks the life out of a lying mouth

Not even the shadow knits truth from facts

The first page missing, the first line begins

. . . but that was long after Night arose from nothing


Dark void of space

counter-intuitively comprising Earth, Wind,

Water, and Fire, the gods both spirit and being,

but their answers illusory, begging the question

Something from nothing, they say

yet nothing was ever made of something


the first something from which gods appeared,

and from them, everything in the known world

A vacuum that yielded only luminous flashes

yet gave birth to Night and her brother, Darkness

And when Night and Darkness coupled, Night

gave birth to Light and Day, Sleep and Death

Time killed Space, his father

Night, hidden away in her cave, made oracles,

listened to drums, the raucous timpani, the tzils,

the celestial bodies’ thrum, as her daughter judged,

moving the universe in the rhythms of ecstatic dance

Time dreamed, prophesied the future, drunk on honey,

oblivious to Retribution that chained him within Night’s cave

A blank book

no longer wholly incomplete

Ink now scratched over ruled lines

filled with fragments, a two-lane highway

Leaves plucked from a boll of cotton

A vignette of tin roofs and stucco shacks

A stalk of bronze maize braided to the dusty green

An artist’s eye

no better than that of a witness in a court of law

Each untrustworthy as the basis for a just outcome

The mere act of observation will change the observed

Time lies incognizant of retribution yet prophesying still

With neither bottle nor letter, the world spins in a lonely sea