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Telephone


There was fear involved—yes—some

fear and hesitancy to discuss what

you knew you had done but

had not yet told anyone                           It

was nothing                          You discussed it for

hours—all that nothing and what

nothing meant—what a shame it

would be to allow the nothing

to decay—to fade and fly

and die like all those nothings

that you both had had before

It felt like a new nothing

but you knew—instinctually—in your

frantic animal soul—that all nothing

sustains itself the same way—by

expanding—cracking—swallowing itself and all

around it—by colliding with old

nothings                       You knew and discussed what

a nothing all your nothing was—

and yet—you could not find

an end to it                         This kind of

nothing kept going                        It kept going

into itself and back out again

around the day—winding itself through

you and whispering things concerning you

across the wire and in sleep's

abysmal strangle and after all that

talk you felt true                           Like a

new version of yourself you never

knew                          A version of the very

dreadful nothing that you had always

had a vision of yourself becoming


Caryl Pagel

The Iowa Review

Fall 2013


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