“Nihilism, Shmihilism”

by Christopher Spaide

coos Nobody, behind an arsenal of smiles. “Nothingness ain’t nothing
personal,” croons Nobody, a perfect angel, lyre on loop—plink, plunk.
Nobody, am I your darling or your fool? All June, I’ll pluck daisies’
faces petalless till they tattle, tootle a petty tune

(Nobody, no buddy, no baddy, no bodhi, / No beady-eyed
bed-bugs nibbling my nape) till neon signs from God
scream on keep off my lawn. Well. I’m always meaning
well, but
since when did meaning well mean much? At the end of the day

day’s over. No encore, no anchor, no ranker, no rancor, no,
thank you, Nobody, for ghosting with gusto, you sweet nothing
swirled into night’s unearthly tea. All steep. All strain. Say I knew
newlyweds the way I know my newly dead. Say a Grief Registry

is the way to have it all. All, or nothing? One doubles the other,
a double-knotted loop, too loose to lasso loss. (Not least my Someone.) You
took my all, Nobody, but annihilation’s evergreen. So listen—
I’ll dial back the silence. No better, no badder, no barter,

no bother. / No Ever-Another. No Nobody either.

                                                              (after Mitski & Emily Dickinson)

Published on October 15, 2020

First published in Harvard Review 55.