Holly Howitt

I Want to Find Not­ing

The London Magazine - - NEWS -

First, you must get rid of ab­so­lutes: Those Sun­days you had as a kid When you watched dust float through sun­slats And into net curtains; When you were bored, And had noth­ing to do.

It was al­ways sunny on a Sun­day And still you were in­doors And mum was Hoover­ing and you had a headache And you didn’t want to go back to school And yet you wouldn’t move off the floor.

Noth­ing. You picked the beige car­pet. Al­ways Noth­ing in the float­ing motes Noth­ing through the win­dow. Noth­ing on the TV and noth­ing to do.

You felt like noth­ing, Like it was all over you And it stuck to you Like sea spray on the bil­low­ing curtains.

Mum said, You’re a good for noth­ing. You thought, I have to stop look­ing for noth­ing. You thought, I want to see every­thing.

And so you took up star-gaz­ing, Bought a cracked tele­scope from a friend of a friend; Learned how to put it to­gether

One rainy week­end.

But by the time you got up the hill be­hind the street The night sky had clouded over. You forced the smudged tele­scope back into the box And told every­one at school you Saw noth­ing, Like you ex­pected, Slammed your locker shut And ig­nored the wretched thing.

Mum was fu­ri­ous. All that money, and you saw noth­ing? You kept your mouth shut, Thought of the thick black cloud Like a cur­tain pulled tight over some mess. I saw noth­ing.

But how can you see noth­ing? Noth­ing is not there. Get rid of ab­so­lutes, Pull back the cur­tain with care.

See some­thing.

An ivy vine pick­ing through brick Or the click­ety clack of the train track The clunk of my keys as I write Some­thing in every­thing I think, I type.

There is some­thing beyond noth­ing And it sticks to us like white­wash on our fin­gers. It spots freshly-painted walls And dots the sky with stars.

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