by Melina Papadopoulos

When I go empty, it is not an act of sadness.
It is not cleansing, erosion, a cry for light, a perch for shadow.

When I go empty, I wish to stay unfilled, a tide pool
that water steps over rather than step in,

one with a silenced ecosystem, where the starfish
flicker on and off like squinting supernovae,

and only when seeing is a necessity.
When I go empty, I do not need to see.

I dismiss darkness because all I need to know
are shapes—the hooked ends of memories,

the cold ovals of afterthoughts, the simmering circles
of self-talk I taught myself how to reject.

I feel around myself, never within. I put an ear to a lung,
and no breath escapes. Breath settles like moths

that forgot what led them here.

Melina Papadopoulos is currently a college junior residing in Northeast Ohio. She enjoys bird watching and addictive word games. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Stone Highway Review, Roanoke Review, Conclave, River and Sound, among others.