How do we know it's not matter that matters
but matter's absence, elegies of matter
like air between the columns of these trees:
not lines of wood but lines of air between
the trunks' sticks, the thin spaces that aren't wood,
clear stalks grown up beside the solid lines,
those breezy hollows filled with non-existence?
I've seen what happens to a body's absence:
grief fills up an arid space that grows
bleak, empty channels reaching for the light
then fading to a watery, sheer background
like the space between these trees night's
flimsy winds tilt slightly. -- Lines of air.
Maybe the real trees shouldn't matter
more than their surrounding stalks of air.
Let's see both trees and space for what they are:
a grove of roseate fading, dusky columns
showing us how wooden trunks defer
to lines of gray-pink, dimmed, dividing light
clear emptiness curves over. Who's to say
the mingled light and shadow stalks that grow
between trees as trees waver out of view
at dusk, aren't the best evidence of trees?
If things are always outlined by the space
around them, isn't absence what they are?
Shouldn't we treasure those sheer columns more?
– Lisa Williams
from Southwest Review, Spring 2008