Looking Out Over Poseidon Avenue


Martha Attiyeh


The blackness beyond the long white bookstalls

stretched across the horizon

could be sky, could be water, could be earth.


Could be the end of the world,

the point where it all vanishes,

the place of final goodbyes.


This side teems with lights and noise.

The bleached demarcation line

holding back the wriggling, defiant seasurge,

denying the dark absence just beyond.


Is it the Buddha’s nothingness, or that of Socrates? Sartre?

How many kinds of nothing will I yet have to stumble through?


Now the soldiers in white begin to draw their curtains,

adding to the nothingness.

More upon more nothing is building,

slyly, so no one else notices.