Emptiness

It’s putting my son’s dog to sleep
that keeps me up at night
listening to the sound of a dog
not barking.

Or perhaps it’s the boxes
carefully packed, specifically labeled,
huddled together for comfort
in the downstairs bedroom,

Maybe it’s knowing someone not me
will put their worn-out books
in my office, their dishes in my cabinets,
their lives on my walls.

Carefully folded, wrapped in yesterday’s
newspaper, I am the last to go.
Dressed in cardboard, identified
with a fine-point, black Sharpie,
all that is left of what used to be me.

Sheri Gabbert is a substitute teacher living in the Missouri Ozarks with her miniature schnauzer, Rilke. Her work has appeared in Moon City Review (2011/2017), new graffiti, The Quotable, Rat’s Ass Review (Love & Ensuing Madness; Such an Ugly Time, issue and anthology), Communicators League, Drunk Monkeys, Serving House Journal, 417 Magazine, Street Buzz, and the Lawrence County Record.

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