Dear Pete, I Thought Everyone Carried My Void Around in a Paper Bag but Maybe It’s Just Me.

There is a void in the desert. There is a void in mall shopping. There is a void in bad car music. There is a void in waiting for a text. There is a void in pressing too many tab keys. There is a void in retro candy stores. There is a void in pausing before opening arms to receive a hug. There is a void in choosing not to go out. There is a void in thumbing through old sticker books from second grade. There is a void in watching a snake eat a mouse slowly and the tail is hanging out of the snake’s mouth for ten minutes. There is a void in forgetting to turn on the porch light and looking for a house key in the dark. There is a void in chapped lips. There is a void in subtle misguided anger. There is a void in looking at weeds but not pulling them. There is a void in the time of dusk : it’s not night yet but daytime isn’t over. There is a void the first night spent in a new house. There is a void in bus stop conversation. There is a void in the silence of you.

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens is the author of three full-length poetry collections: Your Best Asset is a White Lace Dress (Yellow Chair Press, 2016), The Messenger is Already Dead (Stalking Horse Press, March 2017) and We’re Going to Need a Higher Fence, tied for first place in the 2017 Lit Fest Book Competition. Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She is also the author of nine chapbooks. Her chapbook She Came Out From Under the Bed (Poems Inspired by the Films of Guillermo del Toro) recently came out from Dancing Girl Press. Recent work can be seen in or is forthcoming from Prelude, Kestrel, Yalobusha Review, decomp, and Inter|rupture. Visit: https://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com.

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