Nothing

Written by: Caleb Smith

She looks at me ... eyes drenched with love and confusion,
"What is it that tears you apart so?"
I look at her, and through her,
past the sensible answers,
turning the pages of my life in only a moment,
and into the expanse where pieces of me die every day.
The clarity of my answer runs the miles of every thought I've ever had.
It's lost among a million images that paltry words can't describe.

It's me watching my daughter by herself in the yard
after she's told me she doesn't have many friends at school.
And I'm praying the thoughts in her little head aren't sad,
tearing myself apart wanting to see the world through her blue-green eyes ...
a whole other life and consciousness,
sitting alone in the yard.

It's me wondering why I didn't tell my son I was proud of him
a hundred more times than I did.
It's a single look that I remember when he was two.
He looked up at me and his eyes said, "Do you not have time for me?"
And it tears me apart because now he's eleven.
People tell me that I'm a good father and that tears me apart
because of a look I remember nine years ago ...
sitting alone in his room, watching Winnie the Pooh.

It's us when we were first married and dirt poor.
It's me waking up every day and feeling as though I've failed them.
It's me using her love to hurt her.

It's my grandfather taking me fishing when I was a boy,
and how strong he was.
It's me taking my grandfather fishing now,
and how weak he is.
It's the things I want to tell him but never will.

It's me as a child walking through the woods at night
with no idea where I'm going, but hoping that when I get there,
a monster will try and kill me.

It's me as a lost teenager with my mother at home crying
because she doesn't know where I am ... or if I'm alive.

It's a dead friend that I let drive drunk.
It's a live one that I let drink alone.

It's because of the hollow ...
the one that takes everything I have and tells me
I have nothing to give.
It's the black hole that is always fed and never full.
It's me sitting alone, looking out of a window
with rain running down it, and wishing I could cry too.

So I tell her, "It's nothing."
And the truth in that lie is one she'll never see.
She hears, "I'm fine."
When I really said, 
"I'm hollow ... it's empty space that haunts me ... It's nothing."