By Muna Agwa

Solstice Blessing and Diaspora Nova by Monica Ong

If There Were No Emptiness by Margaret Atwood

If there were no emptiness, there would be no life.

Think about it.

All those electrons, particles, and whatnot

crammed in next to each other like junk in an attic,

like trash in a compactor

smashed together in a flat block

so there’s nothing but plasma:

no you no me.

Therefore I praise vacancy.

Vacant lots with their blowing plastics and teasels,

vacant houses, their furze of dust,

vacant stares, blue as the sky through windows.

Motels with the word Vacancy

flashing outside, a red neon arrow pointing,

pointing at the path to be taken

to the bored front desk, to the key-shaped key

on the dangling brown leather key holder,

the key that opens the vacant room

with its scored linoleum floor a blear-eyed yellow

its flowery couch and wilted cushions

its swaybacked bed, smelling of bleach and mildew

its stuttering radio

its ashtray that was here

seventy years ago.

That room has been static for me so long:

an emptiness a void a silence

containing an unheard story

ready for me to unlock.

Let there be plot.

I Don’t Want to Lose by Mary Oliver

I don’t want to lose a single thread

from the intricate brocade of this happiness.

I want to remember everything.

Which is why I’m lying awake, sleepy

but not sleepy enough to give it up.

Just now, a moment from a year ago:

the early morning light, the deft, sweet

gesture of your hand

reaching for me.

From the Taiwan Cypress in Alishan by Jennifer Huang

it’s true half of us have disappeared

they say our fragrance is that of god

we can’t help we wail for the lost

family axed down for profit

their knives scratch our surface

sometimes they walk beneath our shadows

after dusk searching for something we

in fear dissipate and become