by Anna Feldstein

When she noticed an absence where a presence had been, should be, a vacuous absence of intimacy, of contact, of contract, of thought, when she noticed that it grew larger, not smaller, as absences do, and vacuums, unchecked, she set out to do the only thing she could do: she set out to shrink the absence to a reasonable size, make it palpable, touchable, make it if not presence then the difference between nothingness and something, and that is splitting hairs. She set out to reach so deep into absence that absence must necessarily become existence and from there become pervasiveness and from there ubiquity. She set out to dance with absence, her partner, and ubiquity, her lover, and in so doing to spend ubiquity until he was spent and build up absence until he was grand as ubiquity had been. She set out to dance alone until she was spent and breathless, gasping on her knees like a wild thing just out from the woods from running, falling down upon absence, her partner, who was there all along like an emptiness, waiting for her, waiting for her to need him just once, just one more time, his hands and body gaunt and wasted from waiting. Just once, for her to need him. Just once, for her to feel his manliness, eviscerated as he felt it was and as it may have been. Just once, for her to know him. All his existence depended on her, as if, without her, he would waste to nothing, to utter absence, as if the sole prerequisite for his having any existence at all, any body, any presence, any form, was her obligatory need for him, of which she had none. No, she was the wild thing out from the woods from running; she ran and she ran and she danced and she ran and she needed no man, least of all a vacuous absence with sunken cheeks and cavernous eyes and knobby knuckles and knees. And if she chose a man, let her choose ubiquity with his wild hair, and use him up, wild thing from the woods that she was. Let her taste fire.

Anna Feldstein is a poet and essayist, focusing mainly on prose poetry at this point. By day, she works with the elderly in Saratoga Springs, NY, and by night, waits tables at a cool music club where she performs her poetry from time to time.