Geoffrey Landis

We feel the shape of things
that are not there;
the echo of the words
that were never spoken;
we strain to lift ourselves
with the beat of wings we never had.

The empty pitcher forms the shape
of the water
it was made to hold.

The decisions we did not make,
choices we did not choose,
the roads we did not take,
the things we had, but lose;
these myriad missing moments
that make us what we are.

Things that are not there,
as real as the world before us:
I can feel their shapes in the air,
the emptiness of the day
after the day you walked away,
the words I speak but do not say
to you.

We are not killed by the bullet to the heart
but by the empty space
it leaves behind.

Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist and a science fiction writer, but his dark secret is that he sometimes writes poetry, and even goes to poetry readings where he hangs around with poets, artists, and other unsavory people. He doesn’t live on Mars, but he does telecommute. He also sometimes puts on a mask and picks up a fencing sword, but that’s a different story.