The Empty Set, Recurring

Sandy Longhorn

No members, no elements to speak of.
                                                            With nothing
left to say, she resides in the white asylum of solitude.

A bird on the branch refusing to sing.

She throws pebbles into onion grass, 
wanting to scare, with a ripple on the still surface,
                                                        any living thing 
into movement. She is pond-flat, trapped
in central standard time — 
                                       the mundane flood of sun,
the moon slung low over fields, 
the eyes’ long-distance lope to the horizon. 

Her fever comes each midnight, rises flush against the skin, 
and she does not fight it,
                                       believing the sweat and the sweet 
residual musk will draw the ache away like lips
suctioned against the snakebite,
                                               a cleansing ritual of last resort. 
Lacking the punctured wound,
she settles for the heat of her heart as it pumps — 
                                   four chambers large enough to echo back 
all the sounds she thinks she silenced.